Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal document in which one individual gives another individual, called the “attorney-in-fact",” or “agent,” legal authority to act on the principal’s behalf for medical and/or financial decisions in the event of illness or a sudden catastrophic event. When an individual names an attorney-in-fact, one may specify how much power the agent has, or over which specific issues the agent is given authority. While a power of attorney is commonly used to enable an agent to care for an individual’s affairs when he/she has become mentally incapacitated, this device may be helpful in any number of situations. A durable power of attorney is important and necessary to protect and preserve assets and prevent the necessity of a guardianship proceeding, which can be time consuming and costly.
A Living Will is a set of instructions for your power of attorney to provide guidance of your wishes in the case of a terminal illness or persistent vegetative state and death is imminent. A completed Living Will is a valuable component of your estate planning package.