What is a Durable Power of Attorney and do I need one?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a document used to name an agent or decision maker for financial and legal matters.  The person appointed in the document can be given the authority to act when it is convenient and when it is necessary due to a period of incapacity.  The appointed individual has the authority to sign checks, enter into real estate transactions, deal with government authorities, and undertake planning to protect the assets of an incapacitated person.

Without a Durable Power of Attorney, it might be necessary for a family member to file a Probate Court petition seeking to be appointed guardian.  This costly court proceeding can be avoided with a well-drafted Durable Power of Attorney.  However, without a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney or a legally appointed guardian, loved ones will not have the authority to make necessary financial or legal decisions and valuable planning opportunities could be lost.  A Durable Power of Attorney is the least costly alternative.