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Understanding Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is an important tool in estate planning because it protects you in case you’re unable to make financial or health decisions. The durable power of attorney outlines what to do if you are incapacitated. There are two types – one that covers finances and one that covers health care.  Our estate attorney in Cary NC is going to take a closer look at both:

Power of Attorney for Finances | Estate Attorney in Cary NC

This document outlines your wishes in regards to your finances, property and will. The person designated to handle your affairs does not have to be a financial expert or advisor. You can choose a trusted family member or friend. Depending on what is outlined in the document, the person in charge can do a variety of things while you are incapacitated, including:

  • Paying bills
  • Seeing that family members are taken care of financially
  • Depositing checks such as Social Security payments
  • Monitoring retirement accounts
  • Investing in accounts on your behalf
  • Filing tax returns and paying taxes
  • Buying, selling or transferring real estate
  • Hiring legal representation if you need it
  • Operating your business

Power of Attorney for Health | Estate Attorney in Cary NC

Also known as an advance health care directive, the person named power of attorney for health lets your doctors or primary care physicians know what you want in regards to your health.  They are sometimes called “health care agents.” When you’re unable to make decisions on your own because of a coma or other mental incapacity, this document will protect your wishes and keep your family from having to make difficult decisions. In order to complete this, you must be 18 years or older and of sound mental health so that you understand what you are instructing your health care agent to do in the future.

Living Will | Estate Attorney in Cary NC

A living will falls into this category. It outlines specific instructions denoting how much or little health care you want to receive. It would include a Do Not Resituate (DNR) form should you choose to have one.
When choosing a person for either of these duties, it’s important that you choose someone who will consider your best interests. Although you have outlined your wishes, the person charged with implementing them must be assertive enough to see that they are followed, especially when dealing with physicians who may want to offer other choices. You can name the same person for both your finances and health, but it is not required. Someone may feel more comfortable having a family member handle their health care because of the personal details that are required. If you do name separate people, make sure they will work well together and have your best interests in mind.
Once you have established a power of attorney for both finances and health care, there are circumstances where it can be canceled or revoked, such as:

  • You request a cancellation at any time.
  • You name your spouse as durable power of attorney and get a divorce.
  • The court invalidates your document for any reason.
  • You don’t name an agent in your document.
  • The durable power of attorney for health also ends after your death because they are no longer needed.

Eldreth Law Firm, PLLC | Estate Attorney in Cary NC

Call us today if you have questions about durable power of attorney for finances or health care. Our estate attorney in Cary NC can help you plan the decisions made about your estate and health if you become unable to do so. It’s never too early to plan for your future. We can also answer questions about DWIs, copyrighting and trademarking.

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