Durable Power of Attorney – An Important Part of Your Estate Plan

When speaking with clients about their estate plan, the conversation usually turns to deciding on the beneficiaries of the estate and signing a Will. Although a Will is an important part of the estate plan, some overlook how important it is to naming someone to make financial decisions for us if we are unable to. This can be accomplished through a durable power of attorney.

As we get older, physical and mental health may decline making it difficult to make decisions for ourselves. Whether this occurs from something sudden like a car accident or stroke, or progressive like Alzheimer’s, some of us will lose the ability to make decisions for ourselves. If this were to happen to you, would you want to appoint someone to make decisions for you, or leave it to be decided during a Probate Court hearing?

One strategy to allow others to act for us is by signing a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney gives authority to a third party to make financial decisions for another individual. Without a durable power of attorney, a third party would have to petition a Probate Court to be appointed in order to make those financial decisions.

Most people have different needs and issues. With a durable power of attorney, varying levels of control can be given to the person you name to act for you. Therefore, careful thought should be given to the drafting of your document.