Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you, the Principal, to select an “attorney-in-fact,” also known as an agent, to act on your behalf regarding your financial or property matters. The powers that you grant your agent can be specific or broad. Generally, power of attorney becomes void upon your death, or if you become incapacitated. For a power of attorney to be effective if you are incapacitated it must be “durable.” This will allow someone to act on your behalf to handle your affairs in time of crisis. A Durable Power of Attorney may allow an agent to powers, such as, but not limited to:

  • Buying or selling property

  • Disposing of or purchasing personal property

  • Buying, selling, or trading stocks, bonds, shares, securities and commodity transactions

  • Authorizing banking transactions

  • Authorizing Safe deposits

  • Handling business operating transactions

  • Handling personal affairs

  • Managing applications for social security and unemployment benefits

  • Donating gifts to individuals and charities

The relationship between the Principal and agent is fiduciary in nature, meaning that the Attorney-of-Fact must act in good faith and with your best interest in mind. The rules regarding power of attorney are governed by the North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act, NCGS Chapter 32C.

Durable Attorney is effective immediately upon execution, or it may be effective upon an event/contingency named by the Principal, such as when the Principal has been incapacitated. If the Principal requests that the Power of Attorney is effective only upon the incapacity of the principal, then in order for the Power of Attorney to become effective it must be determined in writing by two individuals (either a physician, a licensed psychologist, or both) that the principal is incapacitated within the meaning of the statute. If that doesn’t occur then the family will have to petition the court for a guardianship proceeding, which is the much costlier and cumbersome process in comparison to executing the Durable Power of Attorney with broad, sweeping powers.

The better planning option is to execute a durable Power of Attorney with your attorney. Please call the Law Office of Crystal M. Richardson PLLC today to                                 for a durable Power of Attorney.