Tomorrow is never promised to be as bright as today, especially as we age. Planning for the future allows you to enjoy certainty for tomorrow. It’s reassuring to know the kids, grandkids, spouse, and other important people will be okay when you cannot watch over them. One of the best ways to prepare for the future is through a Durable Power of Attorney. This document allows someone you’ve assigned (known as an agent) to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions. Knowing your wishes will be carried out exactly as you want provides a level of comfort anyone can appreciate.

Without a Durable POA, the state courts become the decision-makers on your behalf. Their insight into your personal matters may not be in tune with your own. Since it is not required to carry out your wishes, the state can and do as it feels appropriate regarding your healthcare, financial matters, and more. Well-prepared individuals never allow this to happen, especially knowing they can easily avoid the headaches with a Durable POA.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable POA is one type of power of attorney you can assign to manage your life in the event you cannot do it yourself. A Durable POA is a trusted person you’ve selected to ensure your wishes are carried out if you cannot enforce them yourself. If you are mentally or physically incapacitated, your Durable POA knows how to handle the situation. A Durable POA expires if you pass away. Otherwise, the appointed agent can make decisions on your behalf.

Who Needs a Durable POA?

Having a Durable POA in place benefits any individual who desires to ensure their wishes are carried out. It’s comforting to know your life is still in your hands even in extreme circumstances. The Durable POA is a powerful tool for anyone looking to plan for their future and ensure they have a voice in what happens to them.

Namely, the following groups of people especially benefit from implementing a Durable POA:

  • Parents with children
  • Elderly individuals
  • Anyone at risk of becoming incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves

Who Should I Appoint as My Agent?

Choosing the person who will serve as your agent can be nerve-wracking. Choose someone capable of handling such a great responsibility. That person should be trustworthy, responsible, and understanding. Most importantly, the selected agent should be a person who understands what you want in life. 

  • Your Durable POA should be a person with whom you share a close personal relationship. This individual cannot be a doctor or medical provider involved in your healthcare.
  • Choose a person who you completely trust. This person should always have your best interests at heart and be committed to ensuring your wishes are met.
  • Communication skills are essential for a Durable POA agent. Your agent should be able to understand important conversations and information and formulate effective decisions when presented to them.
  • The person should be reliable, so they are there when you need them.
  • A person with financial expertise and proven responsibility for managing money usually holds the deal characteristic of a Durable POA who will be involved in financial decisions on your behalf.
  • The person you hope will serve as your agent must be willing to make this sacrifice. They must completely understand their duties as a Durable POA and ensure they are prepared to act in your best interests.
  • Choose an agent located within proximity of your home. It is much easier for the agent to handle your matters when they are nearby.

It is possible to choose two people to act as agents on your behalf. Two durable POAs can be a blessing or a curse, although with the right people, further ensure your wishes are met.

What Kind of Decisions Can an Appointed Agent Make?

Your selected agent has the authority to make a broad range of decisions on your behalf. This includes:

  • Financial Decisions: Manage bank accounts, handle stocks and bonds, protect investments, pay bills, etc.
  • Legal decisions: sign legal documents on your behalf, act as the main principle in legal matters, sign contracts, etc.
  • Business Decisions: Manage a business, operate a business, make business decisions, handle business finances, and enter into business deeds and contracts, etc.
  • Healthcare Decisions: Access medical records, make decisions about medical procedures, treatments, and medications, choose between healthcare providers, and make decisions regarding end-of-life care.
  • Personal Matters: Conduct home maintenance, make decisions regarding minor children, etc.

Most Durable POAs can be customized to your specific needs and may or may not grant all the powers listed above.

Top 4 Reasons You Need a Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable POA provides peace of mind now and tremendous benefits later, when and if needed. The biggest reasons why you need a Durable POA include:

  1. Comfort: Assigning a person with whom you have a close, trusted relationship eases discomfort now and ensures your affairs are appropriately maintained when and if the time comes.
  2. Assurance: with a Durable POA, you avoid the need for court-appointed conservatorship in the event you become incapacitated, saving frustration, time, and money.
  3. Maintain Control: with a Durable POA, you maintain control over your life, whether it’s financial decisions, legal decisions, or other areas. We all want to know our decisions are carried out as we would like, and there’s no better way to do it than with a Durable POA.
  4. Privacy and Certainty: When your family is left to make difficult decisions, it can lead to turbulence and turmoil within the brood. Assigning an agent to handle the important decision reduces the risk of trouble. You maintain privacy and know that arguments, disagreements, and disputes amongst the people you love the most are few and far between.

The Bottom Line

Choosing a Durable POA now provides peace of mind, trust, and assurance that you always maintain control of your life, even when mental or physical defects make that difficult. There is no better time than the present to plan for your future with a Durable POA.


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