Durable Powers of Attorney

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney grants to your “attorney-in-fact” the legal right to act on your behalf in financial and business matters.  The attorney-in-fact steps into your shoes and is obligated to act in your best interest, and for your benefit.

When does it take effect?

As soon as it is signed by you.  However, a “springing” power of attorney takes effect only when conditions in the document are met.  The usual requirement is that one or more physicians certify in writing that you are incapable of handling your affairs.

Do you give up your rights?

No.  Your attorney-in-fact has the right to act with you, or for you when you cannot act for yourself.

Can I change my mind?

Absolutely.  You make revoke this power at any time.  Merely notify  your attorney-in-fact in writing.  When the letter is received, he or she can no longer act under the power of attorney.

Can an attorney-in-fact be liable for his or her acts?

Only if he or she knowingly acts improperly or with gross negligence.

Can I pay my attorney-in-fact?

Yes.  Normally, a family member acts as your attorney-in-fact and does not expect to be paid.  However, he or she is entitled to reasonable compensation.  Once you have decided on the fee, put your agreement in writing.

Can I have more than one attorney-in-fact?

Yes.  Depending on how the power of attorney is written, two or more attorneys-in-fact can be permitted to act independently or required to act together.

What records should my attorney-in-fact keep?

The attorney-in-fact should keep detailed records of their actions on your behalf and make sure that he or she does not co-mingle his or her money with yours.

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