When you create a power of attorney, you sign a legal document that designates another person as your representative. This person can then make legal decisions for you.
A durable power of attorney grants this power to an agent even if you are unable to make decisions or act on your own behalf. For example, if you become incapacitated for some reason. This is what you should know about durable power of attorney (POA).
Types of POAs
You can assign an agent to handle your medical issues (durable medical POA) or your financial matters (durable financial POA). Your medical POA can stand in place of your living will, or you can designate this agent to make medical decisions not covered under your living will. Your financial POA agent handles all financial matters, including paying bills, donating to charities, managing your assets and depositing payments.
Why name a POA
If you do not choose a POA, you could have any number of individuals trying to make your decisions. You may have numerous family members with different opinions or levels of knowledge making your medical and financial choices. If they do not understand your desires, you could face unexpected consequences.
Setting up and removing a POA
To assign a person as your agent, you only need to fill out and submit forms to the court. However, be sure that you choose the right forms. Fortunately, you can also remove an agent at any time by notifying your financial institutions, medical providers, etc. However, you may need to take legal action if your agent claims you have mental deficiencies or are otherwise incapacitated.
Before you sign the paperwork, do your due diligence to determine the best possible POA agents. Make sure they understand your wishes and have the knowledge to protect your assets.