Durable Powers of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is one of four components of a complete estate plan. While a Durable Power of Attorney can be used on its own, it is usually only one of two necessary Powers of Attorney.

If you are above 18 years of age and have financial responsibilities that will need to be carried out should something happen you become incapacitated, you will need to create a Durable Power of Attorney for finances.

Everyone has a bank account and financial responsibilities, but not everyone creates a Durable Power of Attorney to ensure their finances are carried out the way they should be. Ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time to create a Durable Power of Attorney.

  • Am I at least 18 years of age?
  • Do I have a bank account?
  • Do I have a mortgage, business, or other financial responsibilities?

Create a Durable Power of Attorney today!

We are here to help you create a plan that will suit your every need. Whether you are creating an estate plan for the first time, or just need to update your trustees in your Durable Power of Attorney, we will help you  protect your financial assets and responsibilities. 

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a very important document. This document allows you to appoint someone to act in your place during your lifetime, if/when you are unable to manage your own financial affairs.

The person that you appoint is commonly known as your Agent or your Attorney-in-Fact. You, as the creator, are the Principal.

The document is called Durable because the authority continues even though you may be deemed incapacitated or unable to take care of your own affairs. The Durable Power of Attorney expires immediately after you die.

A Durable Power of Attorney may be drafted as either “immediate” or “springing.” Most Durable Powers of Attorney take effect as soon as they are signed, even though they will not be used until and unless the Principal becomes incapacitated. The document can also be prepared so that it does not become effective until such incapacity occurs, and that is a Springing Power of Attorney.

The Durable Power of Attorney will provide your Agent authority to carry out a multitude of actions on your behalf. The Agent will be able to handle your real estate, bank accounts, sign your name on tax returns, enter into contracts, deal with investment accounts, and if properly drafted, deal with estate planning documents such as your living trust.

In California, the authority to act on your behalf must be included both in your Durable Power of Attorney and in your living trust.

Because the Durable Power of Attorney provides your Agent with so much authority, it is important that the person you name as your Agent be someone that you feel is trustworthy and someone whom you would feel comfortable handling your financial responsibilities.

There are many concerns that people have when they create a Durable Power of Attorney which may include: the person they appoint mismanages their assets; the fear that your rights may be taken away; the person that you select dies before you; or if you simply change your mind of who you want to be responsible?

These are all valid and common concerns. But what happens if you become incapacitated and you do not have a valid, well drafted, Durable Power of Attorney?

Without a Durable Power of Attorney, you may be faced with your family needing to request a very lengthy and expensive legal process called a conservatorship (or guardianship if under 18 years of age) so the court can appoint someone to manage the affairs of the incapacitated person.

Therefore, it is important for you to have a Durable Power of Attorney drafted by a law firm that has the education and expertise to prepare them.

Why Copenbarger & Copenbarger LLP?

The process of making sure you have the legal protections in place. To make sure you your family, and your financial resources are properly protected. This requires you to help the attorney determine what are the most important areas of your life to secure. It involves asking the what if questions of life. What if I become disabled, what if I did, what if my spouse becomes disabled, what if they die, what if my children are unable to take care of themselves when I become disabled or die.