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Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Creating a durable financial power of attorney ensures that someone you trust (the agent) will be able to make financial decisions or transactions for you- for example, pay bills, deposit/withdraw funds, fill out insurance or benefit forms, order property repairs, and so forth-which is especially critical in the event you become incapacitated. You can set limits on the scope of their authority, or establish specific time frames (e.g. while you're hospitalized).

Generally, a durable finance power of attorney is established via a document that is signed, witnessed, and notarized, and typically goes into effect the moment it's signed. However, you can create a "springing" durable financial power of attorney, which grants financial decision making authority only after you have been incapacitated as certified by a medical doctor.

Durable financial power of attorney's offer significant advantages over other financial arrangements. Privacy is maintained. Some proceedings (conservatorship or guardianship) can be expensive and potentially embarrassing. Court records are public and proceedings are sometimes published in the newspaper.

The spouse of an incapacitated person without a durable financial power of attorney has limitations on his/her financial options. For example, most states require both spouses to agree to the sale of real estate or cars. If one spouse is incapacitated, the other spouse is stuck. A durable financial power of attorney will overcome this troublesome obstacle.

A living trust covers only what is in the trust. A trustee has no authority over any property outside the trust. Again, a durable financial power of attorney will be invaluable.

A durable financial power of attorney is terminated upon your death. The agent's ability to conduct your financial affairs ends immediately.


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