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Need help with a Durable Power of Attorney?
If you become catastrophically injured or terminally ill and unable to consciously make decisions, who would be able to make them for you?
While many people assume that a spouse or child automatically has authority, this assertion is not the case without having to jump through legal hoops. By the time they receive power to make decisions on your behalf, it could be far too late in some situations.
Instead of leaving yourself exposed, draft and execute a durable power of attorney to protect your rights and provide your loved ones with peace of mind. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about durable powers of attorney.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
Durable powers of attorney (DPOA) allows someone to act as an attorney-in-fact agent on behalf of the principal. Powers extend to authority over financial, medical, and legal affairs decisions if the principal cannot do so. It is a document intended to make the decision-making process as easy and quickly as possible for the agent.
People generally assign durable powers of attorney to:
- Adult children
The person you choose to act as a durable power of attorney should be someone you trust implicitly. This individual may be called upon to render decisions on your behalf and in your best interest. It is also helpful to select a person with whom you routinely interact so that they have a better understanding of how you make personal decisions.
A durable power of attorney ends when specific conditions are met. You have the right to revoke these powers at any time and on your own free will. However, they will automatically end upon your death regardless of preceding events.
Difference Between Durable Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney
The primary difference between a durable power of attorney and general power of attorney is that durable POAs remain intact until the principal either revokes authority or dies while the latter ends upon principal incapacitation. They also share different purposes as well.
Since this article focuses on durable powers of attorney, let’s take a brief but closer look at general powers of attorney.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney offers support to the principal while still alive and able to consciously make independent decisions. There are usually specific healthcare issues that necessitate using a general power of attorney, such as a mental illness or catastrophic injury.
Reasons to use a general power of attorney include:
- Handle financial matters
- Operate an owned business
- Manage and discuss insurance policies
- Making doctor’s appointments
- Discuss medical records
- Issue critical decisions in their place
- Retain legal rights to specific designations
There are many tangible reasons to use a general power of attorney when a person is still alive and cognitive. However, a general POA does not address issues once the principal becomes incapacitated. Let’s look at this situation more closely and other reasons to use a durable power of attorney.
Here is an article on Power of Attorneys.
Reason to Use a Durable Power of Attorney
Reasons to use a durable power of attorney primarily center around a specific triggering event. Sometimes these events lead to family lawyers calling the document a “springing POA” when certain conditions are met—for example, your durable power of attorney “springs” into effect upon your incapacitation.
There are two types of springing POAs that you can use, including a durable power of attorney for health care and a durable power of attorney for finance.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Durable powers of attorney (DPOA), also known as a medical power of attorney , for health care allows a proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become injured or terminally ill, rendering you incapacitated. It is also a limited power of attorney because the proxy cannot make legal decisions on unrelated matters, such as financial affairs.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finance
Durable powers of attorney (DPOA) for finance, also known as a financial power of attorney, allow your proxy to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated or unconscious. They can authorize transactions, make withdrawals, open new accounts, and speak with the bank on your behalf. Your financial DPOA must be someone you know and trust well since they have direct access to your financial accounts.
There are other types of legal powers of attorney. However, the above-referenced documents are used most commonly. Always speak with estate planning lawyers about your options if you have questions.
Important Clauses in a Durable Power of Attorney
Durable POAs must contain specific guidelines and provisions like any other contract. Missing essential clauses in a durable power of attorney can render them invalid or unenforceable. This situation will lead to additional legal issues with which your family must contend.
Important clauses in a durable power of attorney agreement include:
- Introduction of the parties
- Specific delegate powers
- Choice of law clause
- Signature block with datelines
- Notarization block
The above-referenced list is a simple outline of the critical durable power of attorney clauses that you will want to incorporate into your documents. However, other provisions are necessary, especially when creating a springing power of attorney, such as a medical POA or financial POA. You can learn more about your legal rights and options by getting legal help with your durable power of attorney.
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Get Help With Your Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is one component of a solid estate plan. This document will grant your loved ones the authority to act on your behalf, but you could also benefit by engaging the estate planning process to take tax advantages, ensure your final wishes are met, avoid probate, and leave a lasting legacy.
Other estate planning documents that you may want to consider with your durable power of attorney includes:
Probate lawyers and estate planning lawyers in your state can help you draft and sign these documents while ensuring that you meet your end-of-life objectives. It is challenging to determine which type of estate plan you need without speaking to a legal professional.
Efficient Legal Help for Spouses
Attorneys can also assist other family members. If you have a spouse, they will most likely need one, too, if not already in place. You and your spouse can work with the same individual to ensure a cohesive strategy is in place.
Effective Legal Analysis
Your durable power of attorney and overarching estate plans should reflect your financial, medical, and legal situation. Estate planning lawyers have professional training to spot indirect issues that could affect your plans. Avoid legal mistakes and redundancies by hiring a legal team to draft your documents early on.
Ongoing Support to Update Documents
It is not unusual for someone’s situation to change over time. Your attorney can offer you ongoing maintenance services on your durable power of attorney and other estate planning documents. It is usually comforting and encouraging to know that someone can help you as necessary.
Meet some of our Durable Power of Attorney Lawyers
Terry Brennan is an experienced corporate, intellectual property and emerging company transactions attorney who has been a partner at two national Wall Street law firms and a trusted corporate counsel. He focuses on providing practical, cost-efficient and creative legal advice to entrepreneurs, established enterprises and investors for business, corporate finance, intellectual property and technology transactions. As a partner at prominent law firms, Terry's work centered around financing, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, securities transactions, outsourcing and structuring of business entities to protect, license, finance and commercialize technology, manufacturing, digital media, intellectual property, entertainment and financial assets. As the General Counsel of IBAX Healthcare Systems, Terry was responsible for all legal and related business matters including health information systems licensing agreements, merger and acquisitions, product development and regulatory issues, contract administration, and litigation. Terry is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was an Editor of the law review. He is active in a number of economic development, entrepreneurial accelerators, veterans and civic organizations in Florida and New York.
I'm a Washington-licensed lawyer specializing in trademark practice and with an extensive trademark education and academic background. I currently work with domestic and international businesses seeking trademark protection in the U.S. by conducting trademark searches, providing legal advice, submitting USPTO applications, and preparing responses to office actions. I'm passionate about trademark law and always looking forward to helping small and medium businesses promote their value by having a registered federal trademark. If you have questions or concerns about trademark/copyright/IP licensing and require legal advice, feel free to contact me so we can have a first chat.
Mr. Pomeranz serves as the principal of Pomeranz Law PLLC, a boutique law firm representing clients across myriad industries and verticals. Before founding the firm, Mr. Pomeranz served as Senior Vice President, Legal & Compliance and General Counsel of Mortgage Connect, LP in 2017. Mr. Pomeranz also served as Counsel, Transactions for Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ: ASPS) beginning in 2013, and was based in the company’s C-Suite in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Mr. Pomeranz began his career with Mainline Information Systems, Inc. as an in-house attorney.
I have 10 years experience providing general counsel, in the form practical and timely legal advice, under strict deadlines to individuals and various business unit stakeholders, balancing commercial needs with legal concerns at large corporations and start-ups. I am skilled at reviewing, analyzing, drafting and negotiating commercial and government contracts globally for the procurement and sale of services and goods. I also help clients ensure compliance with regulations (including data privacy), laws and contractual obligations and protect, enforce and exploit intellectual property rights and support in the development of IP strategy. I am a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) licensed by the IAPP - International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Over 15 year experience drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts both as in-house counsel and in law firms, including my own law firm.
Rinky S. Parwani began her career practicing law in Beverly Hills, California handling high profile complex litigation and entertainment law matters. Later, her practice turned transactional to Lake Tahoe, California with a focus on business startups, trademarks, real estate resort development and government law. After leaving California, she also served as in-house counsel for a major lending corporation headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa as well as a Senior Vice President of Compliance for a fortune 500 mortgage operation in Dallas, Texas prior to opening Parwani Law, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. She has represented various sophisticated individual, government and corporate clients and counseled in a variety of litigation and corporate matters throughout her career. Ms. Parwani also has prior experience with state and federal consumer lending laws for unsecured credit cards, revolving credit, secured loans, retail credit, sales finance and mortgage loans. She also has served as a special magistrate and legal counsel for numerous Florida County Value Adjustment Boards. Her practice varies significantly from unique federal and state litigation cases to transactional matters. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Ms. Parwani worked in private accounting for several years prior to law school. Her background includes a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate from Iowa (currently the license is inactive) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation (currently the designation is inactive). Ms. Parwani or the firm is currently a member of the following organizations: Hillsborough County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Ms. Parwani is a frequent volunteer for Fox Channel 13 Tampa Bay Ask-A-Lawyer. She has published an article entitled "Advising Your Client in Foreclosure" in the Stetson Law Review, Volume 41, No. 3, Spring 2012 Foreclosure Symposium Edition. She is a frequent continuing legal education speaker and has also taught bankruptcy seminars for the American Bar Association and Amstar Litigation. She was commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel. In addition, she teaches Immigration Law, Bankruptcy Law and Legal Research and Writing as an adjunct faculty instructor at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus in the paralegal studies program.
Possesses extensive experience in the areas of civil and transactional law, as well as commercial litigation and have been in practice since 1998. I addition I have done numerous blue sky and SEC exempt stock sales, mergers, conversions from corporations to limited liability company, and asset purchases. I have worked in commercial litigation, corporate and transactional law, intellectual property and bankruptcy. In recent years I have expanded my practice to include family law, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.