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Understanding the roles of a durable financial power of attorney

An estate plan involves taking the time to draft many important and life determining documents. It can be challenging to consider the what-ifs in life; however, some of these documents can play a very vital role when you are deemed incapacitated, unable to care for yourself or even unable to make major decisions for yourself. Thus, you need to invoke that power onto a trusting person, and when it comes to your finances, it is imperative that you carefully design a power of attorney that will grant the appropriate powers to the designated person

A durable financial power of attorney is a way for an individual to allow another to manage his or her finances in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated or a time comes where he or she is unable to make financial decisions on their own and help is needed. This legal document grants a person the power to help you in a time of crisis and need.

While each financial durable power of attorney can designate specific tasks and details, there are typical tasks and powers passed on through this document. This includes the ability to, on your behalf, pay your bills, pay your taxes, pay your medical expenses, manage your real estate assets, access you financial accounts, invest on your behalf, collect retirement benefits, transfer or sell assets, buy insurance, operate a small business and even hire someone to represent you.

It is important to note that your agent listed on this power of attorney cannot do what ever they want and must act within the terms of the document and in your best interests. A durable power of attorney begins when it is apparent that the power is needed. In most cases, that is when a person is incapacitated or unable to care for him or herself. This power ends at the time of his or her death.

Drafting an estate plan is not an easy process. There are often many working part and important decisions to make. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights and ways to protect your needs and interests at any point in your life.

Source: FIndlaw.com, "Durable Financial Power of Attorney," accessed March 11, 2017

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