What Is Durable Power of Attorney?

What Is Durable Power of Attorney?Here in Tennessee, we’re planners. We plan parties, we plan vacations, we plan weddings, we plan out nightly dinners. You might plan out your day and even your entire week.

But many of us don’t look too far into the future and think about things like unexpected illnesses or accidents. What if you are sick, or become injured and incapacitated, and are unable to make independent and rational decisions? Financially, there may be circumstances where you, as a patient, need money, but legal decisions must be made before it’s accessible. If you’re not able to make these decisions, who can?

This is where durable power of attorney comes in. A durable power of attorney document allows you to name another person to make important decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated, and unable to make those decisions yourself. An estate planning attorney can help you create one of these documents.

What does a durable power of attorney do?

When you appoint a durable power of attorney, you’re giving another person the ability to make important and legal decisions on your behalf. However, power of attorney has only as much—or as little—power as you specify. You may want to grant your power of attorney the ability to make decisions on all personal and business financial matters. Or, you may want to grant your power of attorney the ability to make decisions only on personal financial matters.

A durable power of attorney begins at the time you specify in the document (i.e., what type of circumstance) and remains in effect until revoked, or upon your death. It’s crucial, then, that you consider the appropriate starting point for your power of attorney. Keep the following in mind when consulting with your estate planning lawyer. Durable power of attorney can go into effect, for example:

  • Immediately
  • Upon loss of consciousness
  • Upon a diagnosis affecting a person’s mental capacity made by one or more doctors
  • Any time the person choosing the durable power of attorney decides

Without a power of attorney, it can be impossible for your friends or family members to make necessary decisions on your behalf. Often, these decisions must be made immediately. Your durable power of attorney is there for you as the legal authority to represent you.

Most importantly, the attorney will likely speak with you about your specific situation, circumstances, and concerns and can make you think about areas of your life for which you may not have considered needing a power of attorney. Your attorney can then craft an individually-tailored document that represents your precise wishes.

The estate planning lawyers at Shepherd & Long, PC can craft an individualized power of attorney document to represent your wishes. We’ll sit down with you at our Maryville office and talk about your life circumstances, questions and concerns, and find the solution that works for you. You can reach us at 865-982-8060, or by filling out our contact form. We proudly represent clients throughout East Tennessee.