Planning for what happens upon your death is important, but what about an accident or even that causes you to be unable to handle your affairs? A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective during a period of disability or incapacity, thereby avoiding a guardianship. Guardianship can be an extremely expensive and burdensome process, so having a well-drafted Statutory Durable Power of Attorney is a critically important part of a well-drafted estate plan. The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney permits an agent to act for you from the moment of your disability or incapacity until revocation or death. It also lets your specifically control what your agent can and cannot do for you, a power which you might not have in a court-supervised guardianship proceeding.
A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney typically contains thirteen specific powers that your agent may exercise on your behalf after incapacity or disability. The only limit on exercise of any of those powers is if you specifically delete any such power, which you may do by striking that power from the list. The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney can take effect immediately or be effective on a “springing” basis, that is, upon the disability or incapacity of the principal.
There are a number of ways to ensure that you can protect yourself from someone abusing their authority or trying to initiate the Power of Attorney prematurely. A discussion with a qualified estate planning attorney should help you in making sure that your agent is aware of the document, but not being able to present it until such time as your disability or incapacity.