A power of attorney is a document that lets you name someone to make decisions on your behalf. This appointment can take effect immediately, or it can become effective only if you are unable to make decisions on your own. It is a less expensive and more flexible alternative to a guardianship. However, there is more potential for abuse and it may not always be honored by a third party.

A durable power of attorney can be tailored to allow a person to make as many, or as few, decisions for you as you would like. It can specifically designate different individuals to act on a person’s behalf for specific affairs, or allow an individual to make bank transactions, sign social security checks, apply for disability, or simply write checks to pay the utility bill while you medically incapacitated or are otherwise unavailable.

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