A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes another individual to act as your agent should you become incapacitated and/or rendered unable make decisions for yourself. If you become incapacitated and you haven’t prepared a durable power of attorney for your finances, a court proceeding is necessary to allow your spouse, closest relatives, or companion to exercise some authority over at least some of your financial affairs.
For example, Jim suffers a stroke. His largest asset is an IRA naming his brother, Bob, as the beneficiary. Bob needs the money from the IRA to pay Jim’s medical expenses. Without a durable power of attorney giving Bob the authority to act for Jim, Bob will not have access to Jim's IRA resources without a court order.
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