Certainly, every legal document has its own benefits and drawbacks, and a general durable power of attorney is no exception. Let's consider some of the major pros and cons.
Pros of a General Durable Power of Attorney:
- Continuity: This is one of the main advantages of a durable POA. It remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. This can provide significant peace of mind, knowing that your affairs will be taken care of even if you're unable to manage them yourself.
- Broad Authority: A general durable POA allows your agent to handle a wide range of tasks on your behalf, from paying bills and managing investments to making healthcare decisions or operating your business.
- Flexibility: The terms of the POA can be customized to your specific needs, allowing you to grant as much or as little power as you wish. While a "general" POA grants broad powers, you can always limit certain powers if you desire.
- Avoids Court Intervention: Without a durable POA, if you become incapacitated, a court might need to appoint a conservator or guardian to manage your affairs. This can be a lengthy, expensive, and often stressful process. A durable POA can help avoid this.
Cons of a General Durable Power of Attorney:
- Risk of Abuse: The biggest risk with a POA is the potential for abuse. Since the agent has broad powers, they could potentially misuse those powers for their own benefit at the expense of the principal. This is why it's crucial to appoint someone who is trustworthy, responsible, and capable.
- Difficulty in Revoking: If the principal becomes incapacitated and the agent is acting improperly, it might be difficult to revoke the power of attorney, particularly if the principal is not in a condition to take such action.
- Potential for Confusion or Disputes: If the language in the POA is not clear, or if there are multiple agents, there could be confusion or disputes about what actions the agent is authorized to take.
- Possible Non-Acceptance: Some institutions or authorities might be hesitant to accept a POA, particularly if it's old. They may fear that it has been revoked or superseded and they are not aware of it.
Remember, a general durable power of attorney is a potent legal document. Contact us when you are ready to prepare a POA to ensure it is structured in a way that best protects your interests and wishes.