A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes another individual to act as your
agent should you become incapacitated and/or rendered unable make decisions for
yourself. If you become incapacitated and you haven’t prepared a durable power
of attorney for your finances, a court proceeding is necessary to allow your
spouse, closest relatives, or companion to exercise some authority over at least
some of your financial affairs.
For example, Jim suffers a stroke. His largest asset is an
IRA naming his brother, Bob, as the
beneficiary. Bob needs the money from the IRA to
pay Jim’s medical expenses. Without a durable power of attorney giving Bob the
authority to act for Jim, Bob will not have access to Jim's IRA resources
without a court order.
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Durable Power of Attorney