While your Last Will and Testament serves as the cornerstone of your estate plan you will likely wish to include a variety of other strategies and tools in your overall estate plan that will complement your plan. One common addition to an estate plan is a power of attorney. A power of attorney, or POA, is an extremely flexible legal tool that can be customized to fit your specific needs and objectives. A durable power of attorney for property is a specific type of POA that people often use as part of their incapacity plan. Understanding the advantages of a durable power of attorney for property may help you decide if adding one to your estate plan is a good idea.
Durable Power of Attorney for Property in St. Louis
A POA allows you to appoint someone as your agent. Your agent will have the legal authority to act on your behalf. The extent of the agent’s authority depends on the type of POA you execute. A general POA gives your agent very broad powers to act on your behalf, power that is only limited by state law. A specific, or limited, POA only grants your agent the authority specifically indicated in the POA. A POA for property, for instance, grants your agent the authority to act on your behalf in legal transactions involving your real property. Your agent could buy, sell, lease, or encumber property in your name with a POA for property.
Any POA can be made durable. “Durable” simply means that the power granted to your agent survives your incapacity. Because an agent’s power ended upon the death or incapacity of the principal in a traditional POA the law created the “durable” POA to ensure that a POA will actually work when many people intend it to function properly.
A durable POA for property avoids the problem of who will control your property in the event that you are suddenly incapacitated because of a tragic accident. It also allows you to give a spouse, parent, or child authority to act on your behalf in transactions regarding your property without actually changing the way the property is titled. Modifying or terminating a POA is fairly simple whereas changing the way a house is titled is not so simple. Another advantage to a durable POA for property is that you can make the agent’s authority effective now or you can include a triggering event (known as a “springing POA) that will activate the POA. Your incapacity, for instance, could be the triggering event.
To find out if a durable power of attorney for property in St. Louis is right for your estate plan talk to an experienced St. Louis estate planning attorney.