Did you know that a durable power of attorney (DPOA) may be one of the most valuable estate planning moves you can make? Imagine for a moment that the power to manage your legal and financial affairs is a magic wand only you can wield. The DPOA is a tool designating an agent who is authorized to carry your magic wand for you and cast spells on your behalf. This might seem risky, but you can actually work to protect your wand by naming an agent. Let us take a look at why that can be the case:
- Adventure, and disaster, waits for no one. From car accidents to global pandemics to dementia, your ability to manage your affairs could be impacted when you least expect it. The durability feature of a DPOA means that the permissions you give your agent will stay in place even if you are incapacitated to the point where you are unable to communicate.
- Only those who are worthy should carry your wand. When it comes to choosing an agent, consider who you believe has the skills, bandwidth, and good intentions to look after your affairs. The DPOA may grant broad powers to act on your behalf. This means the agent may be authorized to manage your finances and conduct your business in addition to any tasks specifically outlined. It may not always be easy to know who is worthy. If you change your mind later and would like to replace the agent on your DPOA, you can do so by drafting a new DPOA and revoking the previous one.
- Keep your wand powerful and out of the wrong hands. There may be people who disagree with your choice of agent and will try to cast doubt on the validity of your DPOA. This could weaken your agent’s ability to manage your affairs. Court filings to prove your DPOA valid may involve expense, delays, and stress. A court may appoint a new agent where your wand gets passed to someone the court deems trustworthy, but who you know to be an evil witch or wizard. Avoid creating opportunities for troublemakers by working with a licensed estate-planning attorney to make your DPOA as strong as possible.
As you can see, there can be extensive benefits to having a strong DPOA in place. For help establishing a durable power of attorney, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.