Elder Law: The Importance of a Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document in which you assign a family member or close friend to manage specified items. You can arrange to make someone your DPOA in the event that an unexpected circumstance arises in which you are not able to appoint someone - such as a concussion, coma, or Alzheimer's.

If you have not planned ahead and assigned a DPOA, your family will have to undergo a long and expensive process to appoint someone as a conservator for you. If you have utilized Elder Law to arrange your will, living trust, or estate planning, make sure to discuss assigning a DPOA.

You can have your DPOA drafted so that your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact" will be appointed at once, or wait until you become disabled for it to go into effect. If your assets are not exclusively in one state, such as a vacation home, you may want to assign a second DPOA. Elder Law varies from state to state, so your San Bernadino DPOA may not be able to advocate for you financial obligations to your out of state assets.

Choosing the right person to be your DPOA is of extreme importance. You want to ensure that the person you choose to act on your behalf is responsible and that they will advocate for your best interests. It is recommended that you plan for a secondary DPOA in case your first agent is somehow unable or has a change of plans.

It is best to revisit all aspects of your estate planning every few of years to ensure that any changes are updated.

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