Durable Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney (perhaps the most important tool in the estate planning toolbox) is, generally, intended to give your named Agent (with power of attorney) the power to tend to your business on your behalf, usually in the event of your incapacity. As a part of your estate planning list, this document can give your Agent broad powers to dispose of, sell, convey, and encumber your real and personal property, or it can be limited to whatever extent you choose. Many of us will become incapacitated at some point. Having a well-drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Personal and Business Affairs is critical. Otherwise, a court will be appointing a guardian over your person if you become incapacitated. And, the appointed guardian may very well be someone you would not have chosen. And, that someone may be tending to your business in ways not desirable to you.
I often have adult children approach me on behalf of their recently incapacitated mother and/or father who is unable to execute estate plan documents. Sadly, they waited too long to get a plan in place. In those instances, the adult children are in what I call "damage control" mode. Their only plausible option is to seek out a guardianship over their parent's person, as well as their parent's estate. And often times, more than one child (or relative) thinks he/she needs to be that guardian... and then an already bad situation suddenly turns much worse. Having a good Durable Power of Attorney in place is paramount to protecting you and your family!