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Durable Power of Attorney Explained

Attorney Rob McCarthyA durable power of attorney is a document which enables a person you have confidence in to handle your financial matters and make decisions for you should you become incapacitated or terminally ill. The document is called “durable” since the document remains effective even should a person become incompetent after making it. Take note that not all people use powers of attorney to prepare for a potential disability. Powers of attorney can be used to give an individual authority to make decisions on behalf of a person while that person is still capable of making them on their own. For example a person selling real estate may not be able to attend the real estate closing because of distance or some other important matter. A power of attorney could be used to give another person the ability to attend the real estate closing and sign documents.

In order to create a Durable Power of Attorney in Massachusetts, you must be 18 years old, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence. What is sound mind? A person 18 or over can only sign a power of attorney if they understand the ramifications of what they are signing. If the adult cannot understand the effects of what they are doing, for instance the person is struggling under a mental incapacity, then that person would not be able to execute a power of attorney. A person toiling under a mental incapacity or developmental disability may need to have a guardian or conservator appointed.

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