Do You Need a Durable Power of Attorney or a Regular Power of Attorney or a Combination of Both?
If you are taking care of future planning and thinking about who will handle your affairs in the event you are absent or incapable of conducting business on your own, you may think a power of attorney can solve your dilemma. In many cases, you would be correct, but the particular type of power of attorney you need depends on the specific purposes you wish to accomplish.
Power of Attorney documents can vary significantly in scope
The basic purpose of a power of attorney is to give authority to one person, who is known as the agent, to act as a representative of another person, known as the principal. A power of attorney may expire on a certain date or when a specific job is done, but in any event a power of attorney cannot outlive the principal.
The general rule is that a power of attorney, depending on its specific language, can authorize a person to do virtually anything the principal could do — including buying, selling and giving away real estate or other property. However, since a power of attorney conveys authority to the agent to act as the principal, a typical power of attorney is useless if the principal becomes incapacitated due to accident or illness. The rationale is that if the principal lacks capacity to do business, so does the agent by default.
A Durable Power of Attorney survives the principal's incapacity
A durable power of attorney is the answer to this problem, because a durable power of attorney contains specific language to allow it to continue in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
As part of a comprehensive estate plan, it makes sense to give another person authority to handle your affairs in the event of an accident or illness, if for no other reason than keeping the bills paid for a short time.
Of course, a power of attorney may be very narrow or very broad in scope. An experienced estate planning attorney can discuss your situation and draft a power of attorney to allow your agent to carry out specific duties according to your wishes.
If you need help creating or updating your estate plan, including making sure you have the correct type of power of attorney in place, contact an experienced Bryan, Texas estate planning attorney at the Peterson Law Group. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 979-703-7014 or visit us online.
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