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Formerly Lannom Law LLC

The Importance of Having a Durable Power of Attorney

Estate planning involves more than just deciding who will inherit your assets—it’s also about making provisions for your own life, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. One of the most critical components of a comprehensive estate plan is the durable power of attorney (POA). Understanding what it is and why it’s essential can save you and your family from potential hardships and complications.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone you trust the authority to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. Unlike a standard power of attorney, which becomes invalid if you become mentally incapacitated, a durable POA remains in effect, ensuring that your chosen agent can act on your behalf.

Why You Need a Durable Power of Attorney

1. Financial Management

If you are unable to manage your finances, a durable POA allows your agent to pay your bills, manage your investments, and ensure your financial obligations are met. This prevents financial chaos and ensures that your assets are looked after according to your wishes.

2. Healthcare Decisions

A healthcare durable power of attorney, often combined with a living will, gives your agent the authority to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so. This is crucial during medical emergencies where quick decisions might be needed.

3. Avoiding Legal Entanglements

Without a durable POA, your loved ones may have to go through lengthy and potentially distressing court procedures to gain the authority to manage your affairs. This process, known as guardianship or conservatorship, can be costly and stressful.

4. Peace of Mind

Knowing that you have appointed a trusted individual to oversee your affairs if you cannot do so yourself provides peace of mind to you and your loved ones. This preparation removes the burden of making tough decisions in times of distress.

Choosing the Right Agent

The choice of who will act as your agent under a durable power of attorney is crucial. It should be someone you trust implicitly, who understands your wishes, and who can act responsibly on your behalf. Consider all aspects of your relationship with potential candidates, including their financial acumen and personal stability.

When to Update Your Durable Power of Attorney

Your durable POA should be reviewed periodically, especially after major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a designated agent. Changes in your financial situation or in the health of your chosen agent might also necessitate a review.


A durable power of attorney is an essential element of a robust estate plan. It ensures that your personal and financial affairs can be managed during periods of incapacity, according to your wishes, and without unnecessary interference. Setting up a durable POA can safeguard your interests and provide invaluable support to your loved ones when it’s most needed.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Consider setting up or reviewing your durable power of attorney as part of your ongoing commitment to your and your family’s well-being.

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