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What makes durable powers of attorney distinct?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Powers Of Attorney |

Many estate planning documents take effect after someone dies. Additionally, many people add documents to their estate plans that have authority while someone is still alive. Powers of attorney take effect in scenarios where people have incapacitating medical issues. The principal who drafts the documents chooses someone they trust to handle their financial matters or oversee their medical treatment. Adults who don’t have spouses and those with unusual support needs, as well as those facing medical issues, are among those who may benefit from the creation of powers of attorney.

People establishing estate plans in Virginia can draft a variety of different documents, including different types of powers of attorney. Some people specifically create durable powers of attorney. What makes a durable power of attorney different from basic powers of attorney?

Durable documents may retain their authority for longer

There are multiple scenarios in which power of attorney documents lose their legal authority. Powers of attorney cease having legal authority when the principal dies or after they recover from a period of incapacitation. Powers of attorney can also become useless when the person who drafted the documents becomes permanently incapacitated. Conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to a persistent vegetative state might effectively eliminate the usefulness of power of attorney paperwork.

People other than the trusted individuals selected by the incapacitated individual could seek the authority to handle their finances or medical needs when powers of attorney lose their authority. Durable powers of attorney are different because they include additional language when compared with basic documents. Essentially, there are additional terms added to durable powers of attorney that make them useful even in cases involving permanent incapacitation. Durable powers of attorney can remain in effect for the rest of someone’s life even if they never regain their testamentary capacity. They can protect someone from a scenario in which the wrong people take control of their financial resources or medical care via guardianship.

Adding durable powers of attorney to an estate plan can benefit many people, especially those with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or similar debilitating illnesses. Those who plan in advance have the best legal protection in place if life puts them in a vulnerable situation.