A durable power of attorney is a document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf, and is something that everyone should have completed.
A durable power of attorney can take effect immediately or at some point in the future — many durable powers of attorney are drafted to “spring” into place only if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can grant as much or as little authority as you like, and can exclude the authority to take specific actions. You can execute more than one power of attorney, and grant different powers to different people: for instance, a business owner may execute a power of attorney regarding operation of the business to her office manager, and execute a second power of attorney giving her husband the authority to handle the rest of her affairs.
If you become incapacitated and do not have a durable power of attorney, anyone trying to manage your affairs may be forced to ask the Probate Court to create a conservatorship, which can be a time consuming and expensive proposition. In contrast, drafting a durable power of attorney can help avoid many problems, and is a cost effective and important step in your estate plan.
If you need to execute or update your power of attorney, or have any questions about drafting an estate plan, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-570-3170.