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The nuances of durable power of attorney


You’ve likely heard the phrase power of attorney before, especially if you’ve had any experience with estate planning. But there are some nuances of what a durable power of attorney (DPA) can actually provide – and making sure all of the needed documents are in place for you is what’s essential.

For instance, we write a DPA for property management. This specifies who’s allowed to maintain your finances if you become incapacitated. These finances can range from paying the mortgage and other bills to directing how your savings should be used if medical expenses arise. Ultimately, that person should be great with their own finances and someone you’d trust with your life.

Without a DPA in place for property, the courts have to decide who handles the finances, and it can be expensive – plus, takes time you may not have. Just because you may be married also doesn’t cover it, because his/her name may not be on an account or legal jurisdiction prevents access to certain finances.

Similarly, there is a medical-focused DPA that aims to identify the primary decision-maker for your medical care, should you become unable to make those choices yourself. This advanced health care directive can also provide your desired instructions on what you would like to be done for your own care. Your stated point person – often referred to as an agent or surrogate – follows those directions as much as possible.

Both durable power of attorney types are important to fully provide direction and avoid costly delays in decision-making processes. We as estate planning lawyers in Aiken and Augusta have experience in both, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

*Note: If you’ve had a power of attorney written by another law firm, or had a document related to it signed before 2012, it is likely in your best interests to contact us for a review. Laws have changed in the past few years, and your documents need to be in compliance.

Alternatively, you can also sign up for one of our free workshops and bring your questions there – we’re more than happy to be of service in any way we can!

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