Serving Rhode Island And Massachusetts Since 1984

What is the purpose of durable powers of attorney?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process that intimidates many people. Many adults find the prospect of preparing for death relatively unpleasant. They may also find the assortment of different documents that they could draft confusing or intimidating. Some people put off the process and never get around to creating an estate plan. Others make the mistake of employing an overly-simplistic approach to estate planning, which may mean they don’t have adequate protection in certain circumstances.

Those who are more familiar with common estate planning documents may feel more comfortable making choices about what to add to their estate plans. For example, many people decide to draft powers of attorney. There are several different types of powers of attorney that provide different types of protection.

Durable documents provide long-lasting protection

Powers of attorney let people name someone they trust to serve as their agent or attorney-in-fact in an emergency. They can trust that the person named in their documents can manage their financial concerns or oversee their medical care if they experience some kind of debilitating medical event.

Standard powers of attorney are effective during temporary incapacitation but lose their authority when someone dies or recovers from their condition. Powers of attorney may also cease having influence when someone becomes permanently incapacitated.

The courts may set aside powers of attorney if someone pursues the legal authority to take care of someone who has completely lost their testamentary capacity. Someone experiencing facilitating consequences related to Alzheimer’s disease or other progressive conditions may not receive the protection they anticipate from basic powers of attorney.

Durable powers of attorney specifically persist even after someone becomes permanently incapacitated. Someone diagnosed with a debilitating condition or left indefinitely unconscious due to a brain injury can benefit from preemptively naming someone to handle affairs on their behalf in durable powers of attorney. Those documents protect individuals from scenarios in which professionals or family members with questionable motives seek control over their financial or medical affairs.

Adding durable powers of attorney to an estate plan can enhance the protection someone has if they experience some kind of emergency. Testators familiar with different types of documents can make informed choices when establishing an estate plan.