Ruth-Ann E. Toups
What is a Durable Power of Attorney and Why Do I Need One?
A durable power of attorney—or a statutory durable power of attorney—allows the person of your choice to handle financial, legal, and business matters on your behalf. For example, the power of attorney may allow them to help you with banking, the sale of a house, or speaking with the IRS. You can choose when you would like this power of attorney to become effective and how much power your agent will have.
Without a durable power of attorney in place you risk court intervention through a guardianship if you lose capacity and there are matters that need to be handled on your behalf. For example, if your bills need to be paid but no one can access your bank account and you are not capable of doing so, your loved one would have to go to court to gain access to your account. This adds significant cost and time to an already stressful situation.
If you become dissatisfied with the actions of your agent, you can revoke your power of attorney. When a person is serving as your agent they are not in control of you, and you still have the right to make decisions and your agent is bound to follow your wishes as long as you are competent.
Powers of attorney are great tools that we should all have in place. Be sure to check your filing cabinet and make sure you have both powers of attorney set in stone.