By: Sarah C. Stewart

A durable power of attorney is a document that allows someone to choose another person to stand in his or her place for specified reasons.  Those reasons can include everything- medical and financial, just medical or financial, or even get extremely specific. A power of attorney does not allow the agent to overrule the person who signed the power of attorney.  As long as the signer has the ability to make decisions for himself or herself, the signer will always overrule the agent.  The signer can also terminate the power of attorney at any time.

Most people think that powers of attorney are only for the elderly.  That simply is not the case.  A durable power of attorney can go into effect immediately, or only when the signing party becomes incapacitated.  That means, if John, who’s 35, gets in a motorcycle accident tomorrow and goes into a coma, if he has a durable power of attorney in place, a loved one can make decisions for him tomorrow.  Or, if Mary, who’s 20, goes out of the country to study abroad with school, her attorney-in-fact can pay her bills for her while she is gone.

So, really, a durable power of attorney is a tool every adult needs.  It is a tool that can help any adult plan for the unexpected circumstances that happen in our day to day lives.