Durable Power of Attorney


A durable power of attorney for finances — or financial power of attorney — is a simple, inexpensive, and reliable way to arrange for someone to manage your finances if you become incapacitated (unable to make decisions for yourself).  If you were to become incapacitated and you haven’t prepared a durable power of attorney, a court proceeding is likely.  Your spouse, closest relatives, or companion will have to ask a court for authority over at least some of your financial affairs. A financial power of attorney can be drafted so that it goes into effect as soon as you sign it. (Many spouses have active financial powers of attorney for each other in case something happens to one of them — or for when one spouse is out of town.) You should specify that you want your power of attorney to be “durable.” If you don’t, in most states, it will automatically end if you later become incapacitated.


When you create and sign a durable power of attorney, you give another person legal authority to act on your behalf. This person is called your agent or, in some states, your attorney-in-fact.

The agent is required to act in your best interests, maintain accurate records, keep your property separate from his or hers, and avoid conflicts of interest.