Durable Power of Attorney
As you plan for your late-in-life care or incapacity, you should consider naming a trusted person as your durable power of attorney (DPOA) to manage financial matters, healthcare decisions, and legal documents. If you face a sudden incapacity and don’t have durable powers of attorney, the courts will name a conservator or guardian.
The court system can be slow to name someone it believes will best represent your interests, and it may not choose the person you would like to handle your finances and medical decisions. Naming a durable power of attorney and completing the appropriate legal documents and advance directives helps ensure you receive the level of care you want.
How a Durable Power of Attorney Manages Your Financial Affairs
When you face incapacity due to illness, dementia, or even a sudden event like a car accident, your agent, named in your durable powers of attorney steps up to handle your financial matters and healthcare decisions. While you may name the same person to take on both roles, you may prefer to select different people to fulfill each role.
Your financial power of attorney manages your money and assets. Your financial agent is responsible for using your assets to pay for continued medical care and bills during your incapacity. With a durable power of attorney, they have access to your accounts, can sign checks on your behalf, and can even manage assets like the property or business you own.
Healthcare Power of Attorney and Medical Decisions
While you may wish for a single agent under your durable power of attorney to manage your finances and medical decisions, you may also consider separating the responsibilities. Many people have a relative with a medical background they name as their healthcare power of attorney to ensure they make the right decisions.
Along with naming an agent under a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions, also known as an “advance medical directive,” you may also want to create a “living will,” which we call a “directive to physician.” This document outlines your wishes for medical treatment and life support directives. With advance directives and a directive to physician, you should receive the care you want during incapacity.
How To Establish a Durable Power of Attorney in Virginia
While software exists to draft simple legal documents, get in touch with the Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel team for help with comprehensive incapacity planning. They will be happy to help you draft the legal documents you’ll need to create a durable power of attorney, including your durable power of attorney documents, living will, and advance directives. In Virginia, powers of attorney are durable unless otherwise stated in your legal documents. “Durable” means that powers of attorney withstand your incapacity. Your DPOA agent must act in your best interests.
Contact Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel for Experienced Legal Services
The attorneys at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel help clients plan for aging and leaving a legacy. Contact them for a free consultation if you need help with elder law, estate planning, wills, probate, or creating a durable power of attorney. You may reach them from all over Central Virginia at 434-589-2958 and in Powhatan at 804-598-1304 or by filling out their contact form.