What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
Most people assume that their spouse or their children will be able to step in and take care of business for them if they’re not able to anymore. But that’s just not true. A durable Power of Attorney (POA) is a powerful legal document that appoints someone else to help you manage your affairs. The durable Power of Attorney gives the authority to the person you’ve chosen to take care of things like managing your bank accounts, paying your bills, contacting your insurance. Among other things, this important piece of paper is the only way that they can step in and take care of all of this.
By putting up a durable POA in place, you get to decide who’s going to manage these things for you. Without a durable POA in place the courts can step in and decide these things for you. This is important because you get to choose someone you trust to manage your affairs.
Having a durable Power of Attorney in place also helps you in avoiding probate and family court. If something comes up and you’re not able to manage your finances, your family has to go before a judge and ask for that authority. This process is expensive and time-consuming. It can also be really stressful. And, it creates delay and uncertainty that puts your family in a really tough spot. Imagine an emergency situation occurs. During these difficult moments, the last thing you want those closest to you doing, is going to court and dealing with paperwork. By having a durable power of attorney in place, you’ll avoid this for them.
Durable vs Springing Power of Attorney
Another key component of the durable power of attorney is the fact that it’s durable. This is going to sound counterintuitive, but without a provision stating that your power of attorney is durable. The authority that you’ve given in the document ceases or stops when you’re incapacitated, which is exactly when you need it.
What is an Agent (Attorney-in-fact)?
Your agent, which is also known as your attorney in fact, under your document has a fiduciary duty, meaning that they’re obligated to manage things in your best interest. If they mismanage your affairs, including your assets or if they make poor decisions, there are legal consequences for that.
How Much Authority does your POA grant?
You want to make sure that your durable power of attorney includes all the authority that your agent might need. If there’s something left out of your durable power of attorney, your agent might need court authority in order to conduct business for you.
Butler Rainen can help you cover all the bases
You want to make sure that your durable power of attorney is properly executed. In Massachusetts, this means signing before a notary public. If you want to ensure that your family has the ability to take care of business for you, or that you have the ability to take care of business for a loved one. Make sure you have a durable power of attorney in place. It might save you or your family, a whole lot of headache, and probate court intervention in the future. If you want to talk about getting a durable power of attorney put in place in Massachusetts, give us a call.