Durable Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document whereby you give someone (referred to as your “agent”) written permission to help you now or in the future regarding financial decisions while you are living. A Power of Attorney is not valid once you die—it “dies” with you and then your Executor or Trustee take over.

A POA is durable if it states that it will remain in effect regardless of your subsequent incapacity. Connecticut has a standard POA form that covers most basic planning needs, but many estate planning attorneys add provisions that are unique to the given situation so that the agent will have even more power and authority than the standard form provides.

You should only name someone in a POA if you have full, total and complete trust in the person because a POA is a very powerful document.

In a financial planning and Medicaid context, it is best to give a POA that conveys the broadest possible authority.

Often times the power of attorney will give the agent the ability to make gifts of your money—this is a very useful provision, but must be tailored to your individual situation and family structure. Without an express gift- making provision, it is very difficult to transfers assets to your beneficiaries to reduce taxes or to protect your assets from nursing home costs, even though this is what you would have wanted.

Even so, gift giving provisions should not be automatically included in all POAs without first pondering the need and ramifications of such a power.

Other powers recommended include:

  • Dealing with the State of Connecticut and the IRS on all tax matters, income and gift taxes
  • Accessing safe deposit boxes
  • Changing domicile
  • Creating, funding and requesting distributions from revocable and irrevocable trusts
  • Changing beneficiary designations on life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans
  • It is also wise to add a paragraph to the POA stating that, unless the third party has actual notice of revocation, they may rely on the agent's authority and include a hold harmless or indemnification of the third party

Related Posts:

Is it Okay to Say No to Becoming a Power of Attorney? Yes!
What is a Power of Attorney and Who Should You Choose?
Free Webinar: Fiduciary Roles: POAs, Executors and Trustees

Client Reviews
“I cannot find the words to thank all of you properly for your hard work and perseverance. It is a great relief to have gotten a just and proper ruling from the court. All of you have shown great professionalism and concern for the issues I brought before you.” J.G., Greensboro, GA
“All dealings have been excellent. Very professional organization. Great explanations of our options related to preparing a will. Clear, concise, great guidance and not trying to "sell us" on something we do not need. Administrative folks were super. All of our related paperwork was clearly tagged with what we needed to provide/sign/read /etc. Made things easy. Nice work.” L.G., Berlin, CT
“We loved working with your firm and really trust the advice. You have a well-deserved reputation and it was nice to check off a number of things that had been on our To-Do list. Although it's hard to make the time to take care of some of these matters, it is a great relief when you do so. I would definitely recommend your firm to anyone in need of the services that you provide.” L.M., Simsbury, CT
Everyone at the firm were consummate professionals. We felt completely comfortable with their guidance and were impressed by their compassion and commitment to us. R.H., Canton, CT
The attorney who served us was kind, thorough, and very responsive. He pointed out some issues in my mother's documents that could have been problematic down the road. After my mother passed, everything was as seamless as possible - a true gift at a time when life and death decisions were being made and emotions were overwhelming. J.B., Cromwell, CT
Great service, was on top of everything. I'm glad they were there to help us though a tough time. J.M., Farmington, CT
Members of: