Although it does happen, it is a rare event when I suggest that a client not sign a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), a document that creates a legal, enforceable relationship between the person who signs it (known as the "principal") and the person who acts for the principal (known as the "agent," "attorney-in-fact," or "personal representative"). It is important to note that a DPOA is freely revocable at any time before you become incapacitated. After that, a judge who finds cause may revoke the authority granted in the DPOA.
When you, as principal, sign a Durable Power of Attorney you authorize your agent to manage your finances and property in your best interests. The agent owes a fiduciary duty to you and your heirs to act prudently under all the circumstances for you. An agent who engages in self-dealing and who raises his own interests above your interests or the interests of your other family members may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
A well-drafted DPOA tends to avoid the need for a person to ask a court to declare you incompetent and for an order of Guardianship. Such a proceeding wastes time and money that can be better used for your benefit.Continue Reading