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What Is A Durable Power of Attorney? Do I Need One?

What is a durable power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that authorizes someone else to handle certain matters on your behalf. These matters can be legal, financial, or medical. An ordinary power of attorney expires if you become mentally incompetent to make any decisions, whereas a durable power of attorney includes specific wording that keeps it effective even in the event of incapacitation. The main purpose of making a power of attorney durable is to plan for medical emergencies or a decline in mental state and have someone appointed to make decisions for you when you cannot. This power of attorney can take effect immediately after signing or can only become effective if you become incapacitated.

Do I need a durable power of attorney?

It is recommended that everyone have a durable power of attorney so in the event something does happen, your named durable power of attorney will have the ability to handle your financial and medical decisions if you cannot. In order to prepare ahead and avoid any difficulties for your loved ones if a situation were to arise, it is best to have a durable power of attorney in place. Most people only think that a power of attorney is needed once you reach retirement or older. However, a power of attorney and other estate planning documents (Link) are beneficial for all adults, no matter your situation, in case of any emergency that might leave you incompetent.

Do I need to update my power of attorney documents if I’m getting a divorce?

Updating your power of attorney documents is important to consider when going through a divorce, or any other life changing event. If you are going through a divorce, you likely wouldn’t want your soon to be ex making medical or financial decisions on your behalf. In this case, it is best to update your powers of attorney to another trusted individual who can best look after your medical and financial interests.

It is always best to talk to an estate planning attorney when creating or updating your estate planning documents to make sure you have the most legally sound plan in place for your best interests. Our attorney Miguel Mondragon is an expert in estate planning law, so if you need these documents crafted or updated please contact us today.