Durable Power of Attorney
Many people sign their names several times a day. (For most of us, we don't even remember the number of times or each signature's purpose by the end of a busy day.)
But what if for some reason beyond your control you were unable to do that? It would profoundly disrupt your life. What to legally do?
Answer: Before you need to sign and become unable to do that, you can sign your name on a MA durable power of attorney. And by doing that, one signature allow for your trusted agent to sign your name many times, particularly if you become unable.
You sign a durable power of attorney document as part of estate planning. Usually, on the same day your sign a new will or MA living trust.
It allows another person to sign your name for you. It can be helpful in many different situations. Our document is many pages long and very complete, about 30 pages.
It's called 'durable' because this type of power of attorney continues to be legally valid even if you become incapacitated by a physical or mental condition.
I point this out because before about 1980, the 'durable' type of document did not legally exist.
Before that time, if you were incapacitated, you were out of luck. Because financial institutions would no longer accept its use if you were disabled.
Hard to believe - but true!
But a problem with the durable power of attorney continues. The issue is that many financial institutions will reject as unusable a durable power of attorney that is too old.
Frequently they will call it 'stale' after several (4-7?) years that will differ for each financial institution. Each one has a different number of years in mind - and there is no regularity about the number.
So, we deal with the issue by reminding clients regularly about this problem. It's one item in our semi-annual reminder letter.
And then, we will create a newer durable power of attorney to fight back against this policy of banks and other financial institutions.
Again, there's no commonly accepted period, after which the MA durable power of attorney will be considered too old to be taken.
It depends on the particular financial institution and unpublished 'policy.'
Instead, a financial institution may more readily accept a Massachusetts revocable living trust since the trust approach has been around since about 1300. The trust's acceptance continues for more years than a durable power of attorney.
RETURN to Estate Planning page