Power of Attorney for Property Management
A Durable Power of Attorney (“DPA”) authorizes an individual (your “attorney-in-fact” or “power holder”) to manage financial matters on your behalf. If you have a revocable trust the trustee will have the ability to manage the trust assets if you become incapacitated. However, for tax or other reasons some assets, such as retirement accounts, will not be held by the trust. Your agent manages assets not held by your trust. If you have decided to use a will rather than a trust you most definitely need a DPA.
Your agent, a fiduciary, will have only the authority explicitly granted in the document. You determine to what extent your attorney-in-fact can act by specifying what powers they have. For example, you could limit your attorney-in-fact to a certain activity, such as closing the sale of your home. Or you could allow your attorney-in-fact the full scope of powers, meaning that your attorney-in-fact would “step into your shoes” and manage your various assets, write checks and file tax returns, among other matters, to the same extent that you do.
Without this document, someone who wished to act on your behalf and in your interests would need to obtain court approval (a conservatorship) to do so. The DPA may be either effective immediately, for a specified period of time (say, a trip abroad), or upon a specified event (your incapacity). It may be revoked or replaced at any time that you have capacity.