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What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so for yourself. This power only comes into effect if you are deemed incapacitated. So you retain control over your finances unless an unexpected event takes place.

The document names an agent or attorney-in-fact, who is a trusted individual, to make financial decisions on your behalf. This includes the authority to spend your money, make decisions about your assets, and pay your bills. Having a Durable Power of Attorney in place can give you peace of mind knowing that your financial matters will be looked after, even if you experience an unexpected medical event.

After the Durable Power of Attorney takes effect, you can revoke it as soon as you are capable of handling your finances again. All you need is the Revocation of Power of Attorney document to remove your agent or attorney-in-fact from making financial decisions for you.

Do I need a Durable Power of Attorney for my finances?

Many people think of a Durable Power of Attorney as something only seniors or frail individuals need. In fact, having a Durable Power of Attorney for finances may be a wise move for most people because it enables you to be prepared for the unexpected. 

While no one plans on being in an accident or having a health crisis that makes them incapacitated, it can happen. With a Durable Power of Attorney for finances in place, your family can avoid having to scramble to get the legal right to take care of your finances should something unexpected happen to you. This document is a smart move for anyone thinking about and planning for the future.

How do I choose an attorney-in-fact or agent for my Durable Power of Attorney?

Choose your attorney-in-fact or agent carefully when setting up a Durable Power of Attorney. You want someone you trust to take care of your finances and legal needs, but you also want someone who has financial knowledge and ability. Your designee should treat you and your family members fairly and make wise, informed choices about your financial well-being.

Can I make my own Durable Power of Attorney?

You may want to consult legal professionals when making a Durable Power of Attorney. However, you can do this yourself if you have the right forms. A Personal Fact Sheet, which organizes your personal information for your agent, is a good first step. Should your agent or attorney-in-fact need to step in on your behalf, the Personal Fact Sheet provides all of your financial information at a glance, so they can make the decisions they need to make for you.

Also keep in mind that if you are using Rocket Lawyer documents, you will have access to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney if you have questions or need advice while you are preparing your Durable Power of Attorney.

Will I need a lawyer to make a Durable Power of Attorney for my finances?

There are no laws that require a lawyer to make or review your Durable Power of Attorney documentation. You can make one without their help. However, many people choose to get individual legal advice before signing these forms to ensure they are making the right choices. Consult with a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for fast and affordable advice on making a Durable Power of Attorney for your particular situation.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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