What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that allows someone (the "principal") to appoint another person (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to act on their behalf in financial and legal matters. The authority given to the agent is durable, meaning it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. The principal can specify the scope and limitations of the agent's authority, and can revoke the power of attorney at any time while they are still capable of making decisions.

The term “Power of Attorney” (POA) refers to someone you have assigned to make medical, legal, or financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are not capable of making, or would not like to make, those decisions.

The term “Durable” in Durable Power of Attorney refers to a POA who is allowed to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or physically incapable, usually as the result of a healthcare incident. Typically a regular Power of Attorney loses their ability to make decisions on your behalf once you become mentally incapable.

As part of estate planning, you should consider assigning a Durable Power of Attorney. Many people seek the advice of an attorney when assigning their Durable Power of Attorney, but there are also many online forms and services to assign one on your own.

Last updated: January 13, 2023

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