What is a durable power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that legally grants your attorney in fact the ability to make decisions regarding your financial affairs in the event an accident occurs, leave of absence, untimely injury or illness. This includes the unfortunate event that you become mentally incapacitated.
Do I need a durable power of attorney?
Not necessarily. A durable power of attorney is effective in the event something unfortunate happens and you are NOT ABLE to make decisions regarding your estate or financial matters. Your attorney in fact will then ensure bills are paid, paperwork is filed and benefits are granted. HOWEVER, if you do not want decisions made without your consent in the event you become mentally incapacitated, then a power of attorney may be a better option for you.
What happens if I do not have a power of attorney?
If you do not have a durable power of attorney and you become mentally incompacitated, the Court will begin a process to establish a guardian for you. Establishing guardianship in a short amount of time can be extremely expensive. The guardian will then act as your representative and conduct business and financial affairs that you are not able to complete yourself. This process is stressful and can incur large untimely costs.
Does a durable power of attorney apply to medical decisions?
No. Your attorney in fact will only handle decisions relating to financial matters, not medical ones.
What is the difference between a power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney?
A power of attorney gives an attorney in fact the ability to handle your financial affairs. A durable power of attorney means that in the event you are mentally incapacitated, the attorney in fact will still be able to handle your financial affairs. Otherwise, a power of attorney only gives the attorney in fact the legal right to handle financial affairs under your consent and becomes invalidated if you were to become mentally incapacitated. A health care power of attorney gives an attorney in fact the ability to make medical decisions for you in the unfortunate event you become mentally or physically incapacitated, but does not include rights to handle your financial affairs.