A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal instrument by which a person, as the principal, appoints another person to serve as his or her agent. A benefit the Durable Power of Attorney has is that it confers upon the agent authority to perform specific acts on behalf of the principal, such as the power to act in conducting the principal’s business, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts and other activities in the name of the person granting the power.
One of the biggest concerns people have when creating a Durable Power of Attorney is that the agent may not have the principal’s best interest at heart and may do something contrary to the principal’s wishes. One way to help protect against this is to choose an agent carefully and to pick someone that the principal trusts will carry out his or her best interests.
Additionally, most Durable Powers of Attorney are effective the date they are signed. One concern that can arise from this is that if the agent has the document in hand, he or she could immediately transact business on behalf of the principal without the principal’s knowledge. One way to alleviate this concern is by including “springing” language in the document that makes the Durable Power of Attorney valid only upon a specific occurrence, typically upon the incapacity of the principal. However, one major drawback to this is that financial institutions may want proof that the principal is currently incapacitated and may not rely on documentation that is only days old. One alternative to providing “springing” language is to allow the drafting attorney to hold onto the original Durable Power of Attorney and only release it to the agent upon the principal’s instruction or upon a showing that the principal is in fact incapacitated.
Peter A. Moustakis is the founder of Moustakis Law LLC
To receive notifications of our latest blog post please Like us on Facebook or connect with us on LinkedIn
Please note that the information contained in this blog is not an exhaustive list of the matters pertaining to the discussion. Every person has a unique situation that must be tailored with the advice of an attorney after consultation. The material published on this blog is made available by the Moustakis Law LLC for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Before you make any decision that may have legal implications, you should consult with a qualified legal professional for specific legal advice tailored to your situation. Your visiting this blog does not establish an invitation to enter into, and does not create an attorney client-relationship.