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Durable Power of Attorney

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Learn more about Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to assign someone (an agent) to manage your finances if you become incapable. This is the most common type of Power of Attorney document and is simple to make.

  • You want to appoint someone to manage your finances if you become incapacitated.
  • You want to assign an agent to act on your behalf if you become legally incompetent.

After carefully choosing your agent or co-agents, you can make and print your Power of Attorney documents easily. To make it valid you will need to have it signed and notarized. Some states may also require witness signatures.

Durable POA, Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney with Durable Provisions, Enduring Power of Attorney

Agents manage and have access to your finances. It is important that you choose someone you can trust completely. The person should be discreet, responsible and organized. It can be a family member or trusted friend. If you have a large estate, you may even choose to appoint your accountant or lawyer to act as your agent.

Agents are responsible for your financial responsibilities including investments, bank transactions, insurance, claims and litigations, family obligations (child support, alimony or palimony, tuition), military retirement payments, social security payments, bills and debt payments, and taxes.

While agents may not be responsible for making medical decisions for you, they may be the ones to make sure your medical bills and health insurance are paid.

Your appointed agent is to act on your best behalf. This means you should choose someone that understands what your best interests are and how you might act in presented situations. If they should make a minor judgment error, it is usually forgiven. But if they begin to act recklessly or against your best interest, they could potentially lose their Power of Attorney (POA) by court decision.

The document itself outlines many of the agent's responsibilities and expectations. You should discuss these obligations with them before finalizing the documents. If you or they don't feel they can meet your expectations, you may need to choose another agent. If you end up appointing your accountant or lawyer, you need to ensure you set aside enough money to pay their fees.

It can take effect as soon as you sign it or when you become incapacitated if that is when you request it to take effect. As long as you are still able, you can change your Durable Power of Attorney at any time and appoint a different agent if you want to. If you are incapacitated, it can only be changed through the courts. Your family or others may request to change the POA if they feel the agent is acting irrationally or not in your best interest.

Usually, you are going to appoint someone else to make your medical decisions while you are incapacitated. In many cases, the person that can best manage your finances may not be the person you want making medical choices for you. You can appoint someone to make medical decisions for you using:

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: Use this form to appoint someone to make medical choices for you when you're ill or in treatment.
  • Mental Health Power of Attorney: This type of POA is to assign someone to make your medical and mental health choices for you should you not have the mental capacity to do so.
  • Advance Directive: This document appoints someone to carry out your end-of-life wishes. A Living Will can also fulfill this need for you.


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