What is Durable Power of Attorney and Do I Need One?

A durable power of attorney refers to a legal document in which the principal, someone who grants the power, gives a third party the authority to handle their legal matters if they become incapacitated. Let’s take a closer look at the responsibilities of your DPOA.


What are the Obligations of a Durable Power of Attorney?


The third-party named as your durable power of attorney is also called a fiduciary. They must be at least 18 years or older. They can control your finances, healthcare, and property. Typical tasks for a durable power of attorney include:


  • Filing tax returns
  • Submitting social security deposits
  • Paying healthcare premiums and bills
  • Selling or transferring property
  • Making healthcare decisions


Once assigned, a durable power of attorney lasts for a lifetime unless you legally change your documentation. A durable power of attorney does not need to be a lawyer or licensed financial advisor. Still, they should be someone you trust to handle your affairs. It’s also vital to let them know that you’ve named them as your DPOA, so they understand the obligations, your wishes and accept the responsibility.


If at any point, you feel you can no longer trust your durable power of attorney, you have the right to change your legal documentation. This can only occur if you are not incapacitated or deemed incapable of making appropriate decisions.


You can name more than one durable power of attorney, but make sure they get along. It’s also a good idea to name a backup durable power of attorney if the first party named is not available when you need them.


Do I Need Durable Power of Attorney?


A valued and trustworthy, durable power attorney can be a great asset to all individuals. Life is short, and we can never be sure of our health. If you suffer from injuries sustained in an accident or have a sudden medical problem, your DPOA can step in to handle all your legal and financial affairs. For example, suppose you suffer from a stroke that impacts your cognitive abilities. In that case, your DPOA can help facilitate your medical treatment and handle your financial obligations while you are recovering.


If you do not have a DPOA named, the matter will most likely be taken to court to assign someone to handle your affairs. In some cases, the court will appoint a social worker or attorney. For this reason, it’s good to have a durable power of attorney named for the sake of your family.


Another example of how DPOAs are used is when military personnel are deployed overseas. Your DPOA can handle all your financial affairs in the United States while you are away. This includes taxes, healthcare, real estate, government benefits, and any decisions if you become injured while away.


The durable power of attorney gives you peace of mind that your matters are handled well. It acts as protection for you and your immediate family in case something happens to you.


Contact a Reliable Probate Attorney Today for Help


If you need to draft a durable power of attorney, Ensberg Law Group is here to help. Contact us today for advice from a reliable Azusa probate lawyer.