Another document to include as part of a basic estate plan is a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to act on your behalf regarding financial matters during your lifetime. A Power of Attorney may be durable or springing. A durable Power of Attorney is effective upon signing meaning your agent can act on your behalf right away without any other prerequisites. In contrast, a springing Power of Attorney does not become effective until the signor has been deemed incapacitated. This is established by verification of two physicians.
An agent is required to act in the best interests of the signor and, to the extent they are aware of any specific desires of the signor, to comply with their desires. Successor agents can be named in the event the primary agent is unwilling or unable to act. Similarly, individuals can be named as co-agents with the requirement they act jointly. Each agent must sign an acknowledgment concerning these fiduciary duties prior to exercising their power. The court can step in and remove an agent where allegations of abuse by an agent are substantiated. The signor can also revoke the power of attorney at any time.