Legal Insurance

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney? 

3 min read
Nov 16, 2022

Power of attorney gives someone the ability to make important decisions for you. When you give someone durable power of attorney (DPOA), they maintain their role even in the event of your incapacitation.

Durable power of attorney is an important tool in estate planning. If you’re unable to make end-of-life decisions, the individual you choose can make decisions on your behalf.

How and when do you establish a DPOA? Let’s take a look.

What rights does a durable power of attorney bestow?

It’s important to carefully consider whom you want to empower with DPOA. That’s because they’ll have the ability to make important decisions for you if you’re incapacitated. Specifically, they’ll be managing your financial and medical affairs, which can include elements such as the execution of your will and key end-of-life decisions.

Who can be given durable power of attorney?

You can name anyone durable power of attorney. Once they’re named in relevant documents, they’re often referred to as an “agent.” Typically, agents are trusted family members or friends, but DPOA can also be extended to an impartial third party. Whomever you name, they should be someone you trust.

Medical durable power of attorney

When establishing a medical DPOA, you’re choosing someone to make important medical decisions for you in the event you’re unable to make them yourself. Your designated agent will work with your primary doctor and health care providers to make sure your wishes aren’t violated, including decisions around:

  • Resuscitation 
  • Intubation 
  • Organ donation

Your agent should share your views on health care and end-of-life treatments. Even if they don’t, they should be someone you trust to uphold your directives, despite possible pushback from family or friends. Be sure to have discussions about the responsibilities involved with DPOA before you appoint anyone.

Financial durable power of attorney

A financial DPOA gives an agent the power to handle financial decisions and processes for you if you’re incapable of making them yourself. These scenarios can range from making bill payments on time to closing real estate deals and handling your stock portfolio. You can specify how much responsibility you want an agent to have in the power of attorney documents.

In estate planning, financial DPOAs are just as important as medical DPOAs. Enforcing your medical directives might also mean making financial decisions for treatments, which is why you may want to appoint the same person for both durable powers of attorney.

How to appoint a durable power of attorney

DPOAs are made in a similar way as a standard power of attorney. With the aid of an estate planning lawyer, you can draft a power of attorney document and name an individual of your choosing to make decisions in your stead.

You must draft power of attorney documents on your own free will and while you’re of sound mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to tackle end-of-life planning sooner rather than later.

The durability of your power of attorney needs to be explicitly stated in the document. Leave no room for misinterpretation.

Do you need a DPOA?

Giving someone durable power of attorney is an important step in making sure your end-of-life wishes are fulfilled. But it’s not just an estate planning tool. Accidents can happen and drafting a DPOA can help ensure your affairs are taken care of if you’re ever mentally or physically incapacitated.

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This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any Metropolitan Life Insurance company product or feature.

Group legal plans are administered by MetLife Legal Plans, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. In California, this entity operates under the name MetLife Legal Insurance Services. In certain states, group legal plans are provided through insurance coverage underwritten by Metropolitan General Insurance Company, Warwick, RI. Payroll deduction required for group legal plans. For costs and complete details of the coverage, call or write the company.