Durable Powers of Attorney Explained

A power of attorney is an estate planning document through which you can grant someone else (called your “agent”) permission to make legal, financial, and/or medical decisions on your behalf. The person who creates the power of attorney is referred to as the “principal” in the arrangement it creates. When acting on the principal’s behalf, the agent must put the principal’s best interests ahead of his or her own. That’s why you should only use a power of attorney to designate someone you trust deeply as your agent. 

What makes a power of attorney “durable”? 

When a power of attorney is “durable,” it means that the arrangement continues even in the case of the principal’s incapacitation. This is important if you want the power of attorney to benefit you if you develop Alzheimer’s or dementia, if an accident leaves you in a coma, or if other unexpected events leave you incapacitated. When a power of attorney is not durable, the arrangement ends any time the principal becomes incapacitated. Whether or not it is durable, a principal can decide to end the arrangement at any time. He or she can also set an expiration date when creating it.

What is the purpose of a durable power of attorney?

If you do not have a durable power of attorney in place and you are incapacitated, the court must appoint someone to manage your affairs on your behalf. Not only does this take the decision out of your hands, the court involvement to appoint a conservator also makes your financial activity a matter of public record, which many find undesirable.

How do I establish a durable power of attorney?

First and foremost, you must be of sound mind in order to establish a durable power of attorney. As long as you meet this requirement, you can meet with an estate planning attorney to draw up this document. You will still be able to make your own decisions after creating the document. It will only kick in when you need it.

Contact Auricchio Law Offices

The Auricchio Law Offices team can help you with your estate planning needs, including drawing up important documents like durable powers of attorney. If you are ready to get started or if you have any questions about this process, we encourage you to contact us today. We can’t wait to work with you!

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Auricchio Law Offices

Auricchio Law Offices in Chicago provides a complete range of real estate services. We facilitate residential and commercial real estate transactions, advise and represent condominium associations, and represent property owners in real estate litigation. Whatever your real estate issue, we will work diligently to achieve your goals in a timely and efficient manner.

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