What is a durable power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney grants another person the right to assume management responsibilities of the assets in the grantor’s estate in the event the grantor becomes incapacitated. The grantor can also have a durable power of attorney for health care. This person will be able to make health care decisions on behalf of the grantor in the event the grantor is no longer able to do so.

Usually, married couples designate their spouses to take on both roles, as well as one or two individuals to serve as alternates in case the spouse cannot serve. A durable power of attorney differs from a power of attorney in that it remains effective after the grantor becomes incapacitated. Non-durable powers of attorney end when the grantor loses capacity. Many people also create a physician’s directive, which states the grantor’s wishes regarding the receipt of critical health care in the event the grantor suffers a terminal illness with no chance of recuperation.

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