Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances and Other Property: Answering Your Legal Questions
The Durable Power of Attorney is a signed and notarized document by which one person, the principal, gives another person, an agent, authority to act on the principal’s behalf. The authority may be general, giving the agent broad power to make decisions, or limited, giving the agent the power to do one or more specific things. Most general powers of attorney prepared today are durable, which means the authority continues even if the principal becomes incapacitated and cannot act for himself or herself. A principal can make the power of attorney effective immediately or at some later date or event, such as when the principal becomes incapacitated. Under most circumstances, a properly executed general durable power of attorney avoids the need for a court-appointed guardian or conservator.
The information covered:
Part 1: Considerations in using a Durable Power of Attorney
- What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Other Property?
- Why should I consider a Durable Power of Attorney?
- What may I authorize the agent to do for me?
- What should I consider before including a gifting power?
- What characteristics should I consider in selecting my agent?
- How can I protect myself against abuse by my agent?
- What can I do if I believe my agent stole from me?
Part 2: What if I am appointed as the agent under someone's power of attorney?
- What are my responsibilities as agent?
- What should I do when I become an agent?
- What do I do with the Power of Attorney document?
- What records should I keep?
- When does my authority to act as agent begin?
- When does my authority to act as agent end?
- May the principal still act after giving me a Power of Attorney?
- How must I act?
- Are there things I must not do?
- May I hire people to assist me?
- May I use property for myself?
- May I make donations or gifts on behalf of the principal?
- May I reimburse myself for out-of-pocket expenses?
- May I pay myself fees for my services?
Last updated: 1/2011