A power of attorney is a legal document giving someone else (your “agent”) the power to make certain decisions for you about your property and finances. Normally, you would give the exact same amount of power that you have. This means that if you become incapacitated and are no longer able to make your own decisions, then your agent would not be able to make decision for you either.
Enter the “Durable” power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows your agent to act even if you are incapacitated. By inserting the correct language, their ability extends to the period when you will likely need them most, namely when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. You can also insert language so that your agent doesn’t have any power UNLESS you become incapacitated.
Financial institutions, professionals, realtors, and many others have been sued many times for allowing someone to act on another’s behalf through a purported power of attorney. This has created a rather complicated legal backdrop where the power of attorney forms often do not include enough language for a trusted individual to act when doing so would be in your best interest.
The power of attorney forms you use must be clear and should be tailored to your unique needs. It is easy to get power of attorney forms online or even some office supply stores, but that can and does cause more problems than it solves. Why is expert advice for powers of attorney worth every penny? See http://mgmlawfirm.net/power-of-attorney-forms-3-steps-to-avoid-big-mistakes/
The Oregon State Bar has public information on this topic located here: http://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1122_PowerofAttorney.htm