What Limitations Does a Durable Power of Attorney Have?
Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on July 7, 2022
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When it comes to planning for your future, you don’t want to only consider what happens after you pass away. You might assume that you’ll always be in control of your important decisions, but this isn’t always the case. Incapacitation can occur due to illness or injury and can happen to anyone. While the thought of losing control over what happens to you can seem scary, there is a way for you to ensure that your wishes are still respected while you’re unable to speak for yourself. By selecting a durable power of attorney, you can feel confident knowing that someone you trust will make these decisions on your behalf.
While a durable power of attorney can give you a sense of security, you might worry about the level of control they have. Learn more about the limitations that can occur.
How Does a Durable Power of Attorney Work?
A durable power of attorney is a legal tool that allows you, the principal, to select someone to act on your behalf, the agent, should you ever become incapacitated. You can select someone to be your financial durable power of attorney, who will handle your financial affairs, and someone else to be your medical durable power of attorney, who will handle your medical care and treatment. However, you can also select someone to act as both. You can also select a second individual in case the first is unable to act when you need them.
Someone acting with a durable power of attorney has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the principal. Because of this, there are many actions that an agent can’t do, such as using the principal’s money for themselves. While this designated person can make important decisions for you while you’re incapacitated, there are limitations to what they’re able to do. Here are a few things that they can’t do:
Make decisions after you’ve passed – Power of attorney ends at the death of the principal. This means that after you’ve passed away, this selected individual can no longer make decisions on your behalf and handle your affairs, including distributing your assets. However, the person with a durable power of attorney may also be the executor of the estate.
Select a new DPOA – The person that you select has the option to turn down this position. However, this does not give them the power to select someone else to act as DPOA.
Alter Your Will – If you created a valid will before becoming incapacitated, your agent doesn’t have the authority to change it.
The principal may also include specific limitations that state what their agent can and can’t do.
Plan for Your Future with Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC
Understanding how this process works can be complicated, but this can be an extremely important part of your future. It’s essential that you understand what your agent will be able to do and what restrictions they have in their position. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we can help you feel confident in your plans for the future and ensure your wishes are respected.
Contact us today to learn more about establishing a durable power of attorney.
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