top of page
  • Writer's pictureSteve Sasser

WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?




A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to act on your behalf in certain situations. It is a key component of your estate planning. You can give your agent or attorney-in-fact as much or as little authority as you want, depending on the type and purpose of the DPOA.

A DPOA is different from a regular power of attorney (POA) because it remains valid even if you become incapacitated for any reason, such as illness, injury, or dementia. A regular POA expires if you lose your mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. You can make the powers effective immediately upon execution of the DPOA or at the time you are declared incapacitated.

With A DPOA you can:


Plan for the unexpected

 

No one knows what the future holds, and you may face situations where you are unable to manage your own affairs. For example, you may be involved in an accident, suffer a stroke, or develop cognitive disorder. If you don’t have a DPOA, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian. That court process takes time, costs money, and the judge may not choose the person you would prefer. With a DPOA you can avoid these problems and ensure that someone you trust can handle your finances, property, health care, and other legal matters if something happens to you.


Protect your interests and assets


Without a DPOA, your assets and property may be frozen or mismanaged if you become incapacitated. Your bills may go unpaid, your taxes may not be paid on time, or you may default on any loans or obligations you have resulting in lawsuits or repossession of your property.  Your family may also have difficulty accessing your bank accounts, insurance policies, or retirement plans. With a DPOA, you can authorize your agent to pay your bills, file your taxes, manage your investments, deal with your creditors, and access your accounts. You can also specify how you want your agent to use your money and property for your benefit and the benefit of your dependents.


Express your wishes and values


You can also execute a DPOA for your health care decisions. Without a DPOA, your medical care may be decided by doctors, hospitals, or courts without regard to your preferences or beliefs. You may receive treatments that you do not want or that go against your values. You may also be denied treatments that you do want or that align with your values. You can name a person (called a health care proxy) who can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. With a DPOA you can also include instructions for specific types of care.


Conclusion


A DPOA is an essential estate planning tool that can help you plan for the future and protect your interests and assets. It can also give you peace of mind and reduce the stress on your loved ones. If you would like to discuss a Durable Power of Attorney, please contact us.

 

The information contained in this article should be considered general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. If you wish to obtain further information on the topic discussed, you should seek legal or other advice specific to your situation. Steven C. Sasser and Sasser Law Firm, LLC are licensed to practice in Alabama and this article should not be seen as an attempt to solicit legal services from outside of Alabama. No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed are greater than the legal services performed by other lawyers.

0 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page