What Is A “Durable” Power of Attorney?

durable power of attorney

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When a person wants another person to handle their affairs—pay bills, manage investments, direct medical care–they create power of attorney documents.

What Is A “Durable” Power of Attorney?—A Virginia Estate Planning
Attorney Explains

A durable power of attorney means that the legal document stays in effect if you, at some point, become incapacitated or no longer have the mental capacity to handle matters on your own.

The only distinction between a durable and non-durable power of attorney is that a durable power of attorney gives a person you trust the authority to continue to handle your matters after you become unable because of mental incapacity. A non-durable power of attorney automatically ends if the person who created the document becomes unable to handle their affairs or make medical decisions about their care.

Durable Power of Attorney Tasks

With a valid power of attorney, the person you name (“agent”) will be legally permitted to take care of important matters for you. The agent has the authority to perform all or some of the following tasks depending upon what you delineate:

  • Use your assets to pay your expenses.
  • Buy, sell, maintain, pay property taxes and real estate mortgages.
  • Deposit social security checks and manage Medicare and any other government benefits.
  • Buy and sell investments on your behalf.
  • Handle your banking and other financial transactions.
  • Buy and sell insurance policies and annuities.
  • File and pay your income taxes.
  • Operate any small business you own.
  • Claim inherited property.
  • Transfer property to a trust you previously created.
  • Hire an attorney to represent you.
  • Manage your retirement accounts.

Choosing an Agent for Durable Power of Attorney

The agent you entrust with your durable power of attorney is legally obligated to act in your best interest, maintain accurate financial accounts, avoid conflicts of interest and keep your property separate from theirs. When you consider whom to choose as your agent, be sure it’s someone of the highest integrity and character. Many people choose a close relative or spouse. If choosing children to be the power of attorneys, sometimes it may be difficult to come to an agreement. Often times, one child is trusted with your finances, while the other is trusted with health-related decisions. A few things to keep in mind when choosing your durable power of attorney:

  1. What is the relationship of the person you have in mind with your other loved ones? Will that person have a difficult time getting along with your children, spouse, or any other close relatives? Will this person be able to carry out your wishes, despite what other family members say?
  2. Does that person have a backbone? Do they have a spouse or other member that controls his or her decisions? Will they be able to make decisions on their own?
  3. How are the person’s problem-solving skills? Will they be able to compromise if needed, while still standing firm on issues they know are important to you?
  4. Does the person have the desire and ability to make sure your wishes come first, above his or her own personal beliefs, financial issues?
  5. Will it make sense to have the same person managing your finances as an inheritor?

Power of Attorney Documents Tailored To Your Requirements

Manassas Law Group’s estate planning and administration attorneys are skilled at carefully preparing any power of attorney agreement you require. For a consultation at our Manassas law office, call 703-361-8246. Or send us a confidential note on our contact form.