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Durable Power of Attorney [USA]

The durable financial power of attorney is a simple way to arrange for someone to handle your finances.

A durable power of attorney for finances—or financial power of attorney—is a simple, inexpensive, and reliable way to arrange for someone to manage your finances if you become incapacitated (unable to make decisions for yourself).

A durable financial power of attorney is a good document to make for yourself, but it can also be a great blessing for your family. If you become unable to decide for yourself and you haven’t prepared a durable power of attorney, a court proceeding is probably inescapable. Your closest relatives, or companion will have to ask a court for authority over at least some of your financial affairs.

When a Financial Power of Attorney Takes Effect

A financial power of attorney can be drafted so that it goes into effect as soon as you sign it. (Many spouses have active financial powers of attorney for each other in case something happens to one of them, or for when one spouse is out of town.) You should specify that you want your power of attorney to be “durable.” If you don’t, in most states, it will automatically end if you later become incapacitated.

You can specify that the power of attorney does not go into effect unless a doctor certifies that you have become incapacitated. This is called a “springing” durable power of attorney. It allows you to keep control over your affairs unless and until you become incapacitated, when it springs into effect. Again, you must specify that you want your power of attorney to be “durable.” If you don’t, in this case, your document will never take effect at all.

This information was taken from Nolo Press [] which can serve as excellent resource for completing your own legal work. They have references to various state’s law and forms.

Information gathered from Nolo Press

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