What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

There are circumstances that may limit an individual’s ability to make important decisions affecting their well-being and quality of life. Aging adults or adults with a progressive disease should prioritize thinking ahead to who will navigate their medical and financial needs when they are no longer capable of doing so for themselves.

A durable power of attorney has a legal, long-term right to make decisions on behalf of someone else. Is this legal tool right for you or a loved one? Let’s find out.

What Does a Durable Power of Attorney Do?

An individual who is legally designated as a durable power of attorney makes decisions for an individual who isn’t able to advocate for themselves. Their responsibilities often include medical care and managing finances. In many cases, they aren’t able to act until the individual they represent has been proven incapacitated.

It is possible to limit the role of a durable power of attorney. A lawyer can help you document what decisions can and cannot be made on your behalf. Additionally, a medical power of attorney is a person only responsible for medical needs and won’t have authority over financial decisions.

Choosing a Durable Power of Attorney

Who will step into this role should be determined in advance, long before the need arises. In fact, before someone can decide who will act on their behalf and draw up the necessary paperwork, they must be able to prove they are of sound mind.

The right individual will act with your best interests in mind and will have a full understanding of your wishes about medical care, end-of-life decisions and management of real estate and other assets.

Making It Legal

Each state has its own set of laws concerning what paperwork must be completed in order for a person to be designated as a durable power of attorney. A lawyer can help you make sure that all the necessary documents are accurately completed, filed and align with your wishes.

Thinking about end-of-life decisions isn’t easy, but planning ahead is the best way to ensure your wishes are respected when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

~ Here’s to Your Financial Health!