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1. What is a Durable Power-of-Attorney? This document allows you to appoint an agent to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to handle those affairs yourself (either physically or mentally).
2. Do I have to be declared incompetent for my agent to use my Durable Power-of-Attorney? No, a durable power-of-attorney is effective on the date you and your agent sign it.
3. Do I have to name my children as agents? No, you can name anyone that you can trust to handle your financial matters.
4. If I name my children, must they be named in age order? No, you can name them in whatever order you feel would be best for handling your financial matters.
5. Can I name more than one agent in my Durable Power of Attorney? Yes, you can name more than one agent and/or successor agent(s).
6. Must multiple agents act together? No, you can state that the agents can act separately.
7. Is the agent entitled to compensation if the agent acts on my behalf? Only if you feel that you want to compensate the agent. You would have to initial a section of the document for them to receive that compensation.
8. Can I change my Durable Power-of-Attorney to name someone else to act as the agent? Yes, you can change the document at any time as long as you have the requisite mental capacity.
Is my agent allowed to use the Power-of-Attorney to give himself/herself my money? No, unless you have specifically stated so in the document.
10. What happens if my agent misuses my Durable Power-of-Attorney for his or her own financial gain? The agent may be subject to criminal charges and civil action.
11. What happens if I do not have a Durable Power of Attorney? If you should lose the capacity to make financial decisions and you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney, then a guardianship proceeding will need to be commenced with the Court to have a legal guardian appointed which can be time consuming and expensive.
Note: These answers are informational only, based on New York law and are not to be considered legal advice.