Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate another person or persons to act on your behalf and protect your interests when you are not able to do so whether due to incapacity or unavailability. As defined by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 5-501, a Durable Power of Attorney document appoints a legal agent (a.k.a. Attorney-in-fact) in writing to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf in the event that you are disabled, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to act.
This document is a proactive device that can be drafted to become effective immediately upon execution or once you have become disabled or incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own. Having this document ahead of time will save you and your family a lot of stress and frustration if the unexpected occurs or even if you are at a stage in your life where you need assistance. Any adult, 18 years or older, can sign a Durable Power of Attorney as long as they are able to understand that they are giving another person the legal authority to manage their affairs.
Your legal agent can make financial and legal decisions on your behalf as if they were you. They follow your instructions to manage and safeguard your financial and legal matters. This includes making decisions regarding your business affairs, banking, property, and further estate planning decisions, if necessary. Although it can be difficult imagining yourself giving this kind of authority to another person to act on your behalf, it is necessary if you experience an unfortunate event that leaves you disabled or incapacitated, whether permanently or temporarily. This is also a useful tool for those that are aging and have difficulty keeping up with bill payments and the like. Due to the type of authority that you are giving to this person, your designated agent should only be a trusted and responsible person.
You can give your agent general powers to manage all financial affairs on your behalf with no limitation or limit his or her powers over certain tasks, such as only paying bills; signing checks; buying or selling property; and the like. It is also important to note that you can appoint a new agent, change the authority the current agent has, or revoke the document entirely as long as you are considered competent at that time.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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