Having someone who can manage your affairs when you cannot – due to illness, injury, or other circumstances – can be incredibly beneficial. If you sign a document called a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), the person you appoint to handle your affairs would be an Attorney-in-Fact – also known as an Agent. Having a DPOA can provide peace of mind knowing that there’s someone looking out for your best interests and making sure everything runs smoothly even if you are incapable of doing so.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint another person, known as the attorney-in-fact, to act on their behalf in certain situations. This type of legal arrangement can be incredibly beneficial in cases where someone needs help managing their affairs due to illness, injury, or other incapacitating circumstances.
The DPOA grants authority for the attorney-in-fact to make decisions and take actions related to financial matters such as signing documents, conducting transactions, and accessing accounts. It also allows them access to medical records and makes them responsible for making healthcare decisions if the principal is incapacitated or unable to do so themselves. The extent of this power varies depending on how the document is written up – some are very limited while others give broad powers – but everything must be done with your best interests in mind.
Choosing the Right Person When Creating a Durable Power of Attorney
When choosing someone to serve as your attorney-in-fact, it’s important to choose the right person. You want someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and has your best interests in mind.
Here are some tips for selecting a DPOA:
- Choose someone you trust implicitly – this should be an individual who understands your wishes and will act on them without question.
- Look for someone with a strong moral compass – this should be somebody who won’t make decisions based solely on their own personal gain.
- Consider whether the appointed person is competent and knowledgeable about financial matters – this will ensure that they can properly handle any issues that may arise.
- Decide what kind of POA you need – do you need a limited or broad power? Knowing this ahead of time will help you select the best candidate for the job.
- Ask questions to ensure they can handle the responsibility – make sure they understand their role and are willing to take it seriously.
- Look into any potential conflicts of interest – if there is one, this could cause issues in the future and should be avoided at all costs.
- Make sure the nominated person is available and willing to act – if they cannot commit due to other obligations then look for another option.
- Inform the chosen one of your wishes regarding medical care in case it comes up – if possible, discuss scenarios with them so that they know what decisions to make if required.
It’s also important to consider how the selected individual will react in certain situations. Will they be able to make tough decisions when necessary? Are they organized enough to manage all associated paperwork? These are just a few additional factors that should be taken into account before appointing someone as your attorney-in-fact. Additionally, it's always advisable to have a backup plan should something unexpected arise and the appointed attorney-in-fact is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties for any reason.
How Percy Law Group Can Help You Draft Your Power of Attorney
Selecting the right person to serve as your attorney-in-fact is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. At Percy Law Group, our experienced estate planning attorneys understand the importance of drafting your DPOA carefully and are here to help guide you through this process. They will walk you through all the legal aspects involved so that you understand exactly what kind of authority your chosen individual will have over your affairs. At Percy Law Group, we are committed to helping you find the right person for this important role.
If you are considering drafting a Durable Power of Attorney, reach out to us online or call us at (508) 206-9900 to schedule a consultation to discuss this and any other estate planning needs you may have.