Why You Might Need A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

A power of attorney (POA) is someone you appoint to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf should you no longer be able to do so. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) goes into effect as soon as the legal paperwork is signed and expires when you die. As long as you are deemed competent, you may revoke a DPOA at any time.

Reasons for establishing a durable power of attorney

Many people establish a DPOA when they get older and start experiencing difficulty managing finances. By appointing a power of attorney, the POA agent can handle paying bills, managing bank accounts, overseeing investments, and preparing and filing tax returns on your behalf, which becomes increasingly important as you age and are no longer able to handle these duties.

If a power of attorney is not named

If a POA is not named, a potential agent may apply to the court to be named your guardian or conservator. Compared to naming a POA, guardianship proceedings can be time consuming, expensive, and stressful. In addition, there is the risk that the court may appoint someone as a guardian or conservator who you might not have chosen or preferred. 


Naming a POA through a legal website generally costs under $50, and can cost as little as $15. If you establish a POA with an attorney the costs may be higher, but will still ultimately be less than the cost of a guardianship or conservator proceeding.

For advice on how to choose someone to serve as your power of attorney, see our article How to Choose a Power of Attorney.