Being an adult, you are always looked to make essential decisions over your life's crucial matters. These decisions influence your future as well as the people connected to your life. There are certain conditions where you may get mentally unfit to make critical decisions. A durable power of attorney allows you to decide who gets to take care of your decisions over your absence.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Free, durable power of attorney form authorizes an individual to select someone else to handle their financial matters and certain other matters. The word durable indicates that the form will remain in effect even after you become medically unfit due to a particular illness or accident.

The matters are handled while the person is still alive, no matter how severe the medical emergency he may be. This is solely to let the attorney help you out in case of medical emergencies or declining health. A durable POA ensures that any finances are taken care of as intended.

The family of the individual then will not have to go through a phase of uncertainty or confusion about taking the crucial medical decisions. The principal decides on the financial capabilities of the agent or attorney-in-fact. The durable power of attorney template can be held at any point in life before or during the event of incapacitation.

The agent will then hold authority and be able to make decisions regarding the principal's medical care, finances, and property after the principal's illness.

Power of Attorney vs. Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney form will allow someone else to handle your legal, medical, and financial matters. The authorization over matters is limited within the free power of attorney according to the access provided by the principal. The general power of attorney form can cover a broad range of transactions, while the limited power of attorney form can only cover specific situations.

A general durable power of attorney essentially functions the same way as the ordinary power of attorney described above, but with one major difference. An ordinary power of attorney will expire the moment the principal becomes mentally incompetent. However, in the case of free, durable power of attorney forms, the form remains valid because it includes a special clause that keeps it in effect.

The reason for this difference between an ordinary free power of attorney form and a durable POA is to be able to plan in case of medical emergencies. He may then choose to opt for a durable POA to let the agent make his decisions for him because of his incapable mental health.

When Should I Use a Durable Power of Attorney?

There are no rules as to who should use a DPOA or when should he consider using one. This is because a durable power of attorney template essentially holds the same powers as a simple power of attorney form

Therefore, the circumstances of using the power of attorney form can become the circumstances for using a DPOA likewise, except for a few circumstances. Following are some situations in which using a durable general power of attorney would come in handy:

  • Financial Assets: One of the reasons you could consider using a durable POA is if you have financial assets. The financial asset can be any legal asset that you own, which could be your home.
  • You Support Someone: If someone is dependent on you financially, then you may want to consider using a durable power of attorney. If in case anything was to happen to you that could disturb you mentally, the form will take care of who you support.
  • You are Married: When you are married, it falls under the same category as supporting someone. However, there is one exception to this type. If you share joint financial accounts with your spouse, then getting a DPOA form will be critical for you.
  • Mental Disease: If you have a mental disease such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease, it is very critical that you get a free, durable power of attorney.

What to Include in a Durable Power of Attorney?

There are certain basic elements that need to be included in a durable power of attorney definition. These elements are:

  • The Principal: The principal is the individual who gets the durable POA form made for himself. His full name along address needs to be mentioned.
  • The Agent: The agent or attorney-in-fact is the organization who will hold responsibility for the principal's assigned matters.
  • Title of Form: The title of the form will clarify the type and name of the form. For instance, in the case of durable power of attorney form, the keyword ‘durable’ needs to be mentioned along with the form.
  • Date of Form: The date when the document was signed by the principal and the date that puts the agent’s power in effect.
  • The Powers: The powers that the agent would be held responsible for should be mentioned.
  • The Signatures: The signatures of both the agent and the principal need to be in the form.

Conclusion

Illnesses and accidents are a few of the most uncertain events of life that you may encounter. To avoid any losses in work or get rid of any ambiguities that may arise over your absence, a durable power of attorney form can help you out. It will allow you to set up an authorized agent that would cover all your critical decisions in such situations. This article has featured a clear guide on how to utilize this form for such cases efficiently.

Durable Power of Attorney FAQs

Over what kind of decisions does my agent hold power?

An agent can take care of a broad range of health care decisions for you. This includes admitting or discharging you from the hospital, deciding your medicines for you, and having access to your financial and medical records.

How to apply for health care using a durable power of attorney?

You simply have to sign the free, durable power of attorney. By doing so, you acknowledge that you want an agent to make decisions related to your health when you are unable to do so yourself.

Who should I choose as an agent for power of attorney?

An agent for power of attorney form can be anyone you know. It does not have to be a family member necessarily. However, you should only choose whom you fully trust.

Is a lawyer required in order to get a power of attorney?

No, a lawyer is not required for the process of the power of attorney form.

Do I have to sign multiple power of attorney copies?

Technically you are only required to execute one power of attorney copy. However, some financial companies or banks may require you to sign their power of attorney forms as well.