You’ve probably heard the term power of attorney. A legal designation, power of attorney refers to a document that grants an individual, known as the agent, the power to act in the interest of another party, referred to as the principal. However, you might be less familiar with the term durable power of attorney. In the state of Arizona, durable power of attorney allows the principal to afford financial decision-making abilities to their agent. In other words, the agent has the right to make decisions about and control the principal’s monetary concerns. Keep reading to learn more about durable power of attorney, including how long it lasts.
Understanding Durable POA
There are multiple types of power of attorney, each with different capacities and restrictions. Moreover, each kind of power of attorney comes with different triggers for expiration. The most comprehensive option that can be granted, durable power of attorney is generally afforded in cases when a principal no longer has the mental or physical capacity to act in their own interests. Under these circumstances, the individual appoints an agent to handle their legal and financial affairs.
How Long Does Durable POA Last?
In most cases, durable power of attorney lasts until the time when the principal or the agent passes away. At the time of either party’s death, the agent’s powers and responsibilities end. Assuming that the principal dies first, the courts will handle their last wishes in accordance with the deceased’s will or testamentary trust. Without a will, the estate will be distributed based on Arizona’s intestacy laws.
Circumstances do exist in which durable power of attorney can be ended without one of the parties dying. In some situations, a court may decide to revoke power of attorney, thereby removing the agent’s authority over the principal. Additionally, a principal can request to terminate power of attorney if their relationship with the agent changes, the principal stops trusting the agent, or the agent moves and is no longer able to manage the principal’s affairs in a convenient fashion.
Moreover, the court may decide to terminate durable POA on its own if evidence exists that the agent is abusing their power or acting against the principal’s best interests. In these cases, the court will issue an order that terminates the POA agreement and says that the agent may no longer use the document.
The court will generally allow a principal to terminate power of attorney, provided that they are deemed mentally competent. In these cases, the principal is not required to give a reason for revoking power of attorney. However, revoking durable power of attorney can be more complicated, as this designation is typically only afforded in cases when the principal is not capable of providing for himself or herself.
Considerations Before Assigning Durable Power of Attorney
There are multiple factors to consider before assigning someone durable power of attorney. Because having durable POA revoked can be complicated, individuals should make sure they’re confident in their choice of agent before signing over their rights to legal and financial decision making. Additionally, it’s wise to have a trusted attorney review your durable POA and any other document prior to signing. Be sure you understand what responsibilities and abilities the agent will have so nothing slips through the cracks.
You love your family and want to ensure they’re cared for when you’re no longer around. To that end, expert estate planning is crucial. At JacksoneWhite, our team has the knowledge and experience to help you preserve and protect your assets.
Call our Arizona Estate Planning team at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.