In a durable power of attorney (DPOA), you give authorization to a certain person, or people, to make decisions on your behalf when you are not physically or mentally capable. This person is known as an Agent.
Realize that this document and person have control only during one’s lifetime. The power terminates at death, when the will or trust instructions become effective.
This is an important document to have to avoid court intervention at a stressful time. Imagine that you don’t have this document and are severely injured. On top of the health concerns, your family may need to deal with court appearances to manage your finances or make certain financial decisions on your behalf.
Agent (Health Care)
Deciding who will be named as your Health Care Agent is one of the more difficult and important decisions in estate planning. The health care agent receives a durable power of attorney for health care from you, which gives your agent the power to make medical decisions if you are incapacitated or unable to make medical decisions.
The health care agent cannot override any health care preferences you set out in a living will, but will have complete authority to make any other medical decisions.
If you have strong feelings about your health care, this is the place to specifically express them.
If you create a revocable living trust, you will name a trustee, or co-trustees, to manage your assets. Realize that the trustee will control those assets in the trust. He or she will manage that property as directed in the trust.
If your trust directs that the trustee ensure all bills are paid, all debts owed to you are collected, and all assets are distributed in a timely fashion, the trust will end fairly soon after your death.
On the other hand, you may want your trust to endure for years or decades. This allows you to control how assets are managed and distributed over time.
Perhaps you have a spendthrift or minor child who you want to provide income over time. In this case, the trustee will serve for the time period you direct in your trust.