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Durable POA FAQ’s

A Durable Power of Attorney grants enhanced abilities and protection that may not come with a standard Power of Attorney. Discover the difference between a Power of Attorney (POA) and a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA).

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that allows one person to appoint another person to act on their behalf concerning finance, real estate, business, and more.

Who is the Principal?

You are the principal. You are the person that grants authority, or decision-making ability to your representative.

Who is the Agent?

The personal representative you appoint on your behalf is called the agent and they are the one that will be able to make decisions for you.

Who is the Alternate?

You are also able to assign up to two alternates. These are individuals that are in succession to act as your agent, should your agent be unable or unwilling to act on your behalf

What is a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)?

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is valid regardless of whether you, the principal, are competent. This validity means it will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney remains in effect until you revoke it or die.

Who should have a Power of Attorney form?

Although many different situations can prompt a person to create a Power of Attorney document, POAs are used to allow someone to act on your behalf when you are not available or capable to act for yourself. You might want to consider making a POA if:

  • You travel out of the country often.
  • You work in a hazardous work environment.
  • You are diagnosed with a severe illness.
  • You have a business or property that needs maintenance when you’re unavailable.
  • You have children who would need to be provided for if you were to become incapacitated.
  • You want a specific person to be responsible for your affairs.
  • You want a specific person to uphold your rules about how you run your business, property, or life.
  • You are approaching old age and would like to designate a representative for yourself.

A Power of Attorney is critical to have in the event of unforeseen circumstances, and thus, is often a key document in one’s Estate Plan. For example, if you suddenly become ill or are involved in a serious accident, having a Durable Power of Attorney in place will allow your agent to manage your affairs until you are better.

What powers can you grant to your agent?

Not all Power of Attorney documents grant the same level of power. Our Durable Power of Attorney is designed to grant the powers needed for your agent to act on your behalf. Some examples include:

  • Finance: You can give your agent the power to make financial decisions, like making payments or closing your accounts, in your absence. Your agent can also hold other financial powers, including the ability to control your bank account, cash checks, or transfer funds.
  • Legal: A Power of Attorney can allow your agent to handle your legal matters. This ability means they can commence lawsuits, communicate with your lawyer, file documents with the court, and more.
  • Real estate: Your agent can handle all your real estate responsibilities. This ability includes selling, renting, or managing any personal, residential, and commercial properties owned or leased in your name.
  • Business: Your agent can manage your business, including making employment, budgetary, and investment decisions on your behalf. They can also be your proxy in meetings and vote as a shareholder in your absence.

Are any other powers granted to my agent?

Yes! Our Durable Power of Attorney was drafted with the intent of ensuring that your agent can act on your behalf for both large and small decisions alike. Some examples of more day-to-day powers granted are:

  • Maintaining your family (e.g., paying for your children’s tuition or medical expenses)
  • Hiring professionals (e.g., hiring a maintenance specialist)
  • Handling government tax requirements and benefits (e.g., filing and paying your personal or corporate taxes)
  • Selling, purchasing, or exchanging goods (e.g., selling your furniture or buying new furniture)
  • Donating to charities
  • Gifting money or items to family and friends
  • Making insurance-related transactions (e.g., canceling your home or apartment insurance)
  • Changing retirement plans and accepting benefits (e.g., using your pension to pay bills like your mortgage)

How should I choose an agent?

To choose an agent, you must consider your options carefully. Aside from your personal preferences, there are also legal requirements for who you select.

Your agent should not:

  • Be under the age of majority in your state
  • Currently be in a state of bankruptcy
  • Be the owner or employee of a care home where the principal resides or receives treatment

You also want to make sure that you have spoken at length with your agent regarding your wishes and how they should proceed when making decisions on your behalf. Your agent should make decisions based on what you would do, or how you would decide, even if they or others would act differently.

Does a Power of Attorney need to be notarized?

Yes. Our Durable Power of Attorney must be notarized, and a witness must sign as well. Your bank may be able to notarize your document for free. National Legal Center can facilitate the notarization of the document for an additional fee.

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