Start a Durable Power of Attorney form today, to appoint a person (an Agent) to manage financial affairs on your behalf.
Last Update August 17th, 2021
What is a Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that lets individuals appoint a person they trust to take control of their finances in the event they are unable to manage their assets themselves. This can apply in the following situations:
You become disabled or incapacitated
You become legally incompetent
You wish for an agent to take control of your financial affairs now AND if/when you become incapacitated or legally incompetent
Who Are the Key People Involved in this Agreement
The Principal: The individual who is seeking to appoint a power of attorney.
The Agent: An Agent, also known as the Attorney in Fact, takes control of the Principal’s financial affairs. Additional Co-Agents can also be appointed by the Principal in a DPOA.
Other Names for a Durable Power of Attorney
Durable POA, DPOA, Enduring Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney with durable provisions.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is an alternative POA document that gives the Agent instructions on how to attend to the Principal’s healthcare needs.
A Durable POA for Healthcare has some similarities to an Advance Directive or Living Will, as it gives details regarding your desires for medical treatment if you are unconscious or incapacitated.
The key difference with a DPOA for Healthcare, however, is that it empowers the Agent to make medical decisions for you. It allows the Agent(s) or Attorney-in-Fact to act for you if you are incapacitated due to injury, disability, declining health, advanced age, or mental health reasons. An Advance Directive is strictly limited in scope to:
Instructions about continuing or withholding life-sustaining treatment if you have a terminal condition (expected to die within six months), or
Instructions about continuing or withholding life-sustaining treatment if you have an irreversible condition, you cannot care for or make decisions for yourself, and you are expected to die without life-sustaining treatment.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
Creating a Durable Power of Attorney for finances can give Agents many different powers related to your financial affairs. These include the handling of:
Buying and selling stocks and bonds
There are additionally, many other provisions that are permitted within a DPOA form. You can choose which of these will apply when you create and put this kind of legal instrument into effect.
When building a POA document you can also set limits on what the Agent can and cannot do.
For example, you can limit the actions an appointed Agent can take regarding changes to your will, selling property and personal assets. It can also stipulate the removal of the Agent if they breach the agreements of the DPOA or if they can no longer perform their duties.
How to Get Durable Power of Attorney
There are a few considerations that you should keep in mind before appointing a Power of Attorney.
Before starting a Durable POA document, individuals are advised to read and understand the following steps:
Step 1: Find a Person You Trust
The first step to completing a Power of Attorney Document is to find a suitable person to be your Agent or Attorney-in-Fact. This should be an individual that you trust implicitly and can confidently rely upon to make sensible financial decisions on your behalf.
Before formally appointing your Agent, you should talk with them to discuss the contract that you are to enter into and ensure that they agree to perform your duties according to your wishes.
Remember, a Durable Power of Attorney allows your appointed Agent to manage your financial affairs until your death unless you add specific provisions limiting this in your final document. Therefore it’s important to choose carefully.
Step 2: Decide the Agent’s Powers
The next stage of creating your document is to have a clear idea of the powers that you wish to bestow upon your chosen Agent.
Consider carefully what financial responsibilities you have as an individual, and how these will affect dependants, business partners or stakeholders.
In a simple case, you can just appoint your Agent to manage assets like any real estate you own, personal property or your bank accounts and taxes.
However, if your situation is more complex your POA can include powers to manage stocks and shares, government benefits or making business or litigation decisions for you.
Step 3: Complete the Document
When you’ve chosen a suitable Agent and know what duties you will need them to manage for you, you’re ready to fill in the POA document.
In order to complete the form, you will need to provide key information that will allow the Agent to perform their role effectively. This includes:
When the POA will come into effect
The powers being granted to the Agent
What financial compensation will be made available to the Agent
Any fiduciary duties the Agent must perform for you
Special instructions for the Agent
Limitations to the Agent’s powers
Step 4: Sign the Document
Both you and the Agent must sign your signatures and mark the date on the completed document to bring it into effect.
In some states, this will require the assistance of a notary and you may need to provide witnesses to the signing.
Step 5: Putting the POA Form into Effect
Once the document has been officially signed, it will normally come into force with immediate effect unless you have specified otherwise.
Be sure to keep the form in a secure and accessible place as it will need to be presented to validate the transactions being managed by the Agent.
To use the form to sign any legal agreements on your behalf your appointed Agent will need to add the word “by” to the section where your name is printed and write their name followed by “acting as Attorney-in-Fact”.
Durable Power of Attorney FAQs
If you’re still unsure if a Durable Power of Attorney is right for your situation, read below for answers to the most asked questions about this type of legal form.
What Does Durable Power of Attorney Mean?
A Durable Power of Attorney means that an individual (the Principal) has legally appointed one or more persons (or Agents) to manage some or all their financial affairs.
This grants the appointee powers to make decisions on behalf of the Principal with regards to their wellbeing and the management of their personal assets and finances before and/or during any period of time that they are incapacitated mentally or physically.
These powers can be specially tailored to an individual’s necessities depending on their circumstances.
How to Fill Out a Durable Power of Attorney?
In order to complete a Durable Power of Attorney document simply follow these steps:
Select Create Document at the top of this page
Enter your name and the name of the person you have chosen as your Agent
Specify when the POA will come into effect
Choose the powers you wish to grant the Agent
Download and print off your completed forms
Sign and date the documents (you may require a notary and witnesses)
What is the Difference Between a General POA and a Durable Power of Attorney?
The key difference between a General Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney is that a General POA ends as soon as you become incapacitated or die.
However, a Durable POA continues to be valid even if you become incapacitated. It remains in force until its revocation, the appointment of a different Attorney-in-Fact (or Agent) or your death.
When Does Durable Power of Attorney End?
Unless you have specified otherwise, a Durable Power of Attorney can last until your death.
Whilst, your appointed Agent may manage your funeral plans and financial affairs before you have died, they cannot take on these responsibilities after your death.
However, as the Principal of this kind of legal instrument, you can revoke the POA at any time and/or specify an end date to your Agent’s authority within your document.