When developing a robust estate plan, people in Virginia may consider developing more than just a will or a trust. These documents, while important, may not offer all of the assistance needed down the road.

A durable power of attorney may complement a will, trust or other elements of a person’s estate plan as it grants another party the ability to manage a person’s financial affairs.

A durable versus springing power of attorney

As explained by Forbes, there are different types of powers of attorney. A springing power of attorney only activates when a person becomes unable to manage their own finances. Some situations make it obvious when a person reaches this point, such as after an accident. Other situations, like degenerative conditions that develop over time, may make it hard to identify this point.

A durable power of attorney activates upon signing, making it easier for a person to step in at any time on behalf of the individual needing assistance.

A power of attorney versus a guardianship

An individual can choose to sign a durable power of attorney granting control of their finances to another person at any time before they need such assistance. In contrast, a guardianship is established only after a person needs assistance. In addition, a court appoints a guardian instead of the individual who needs the help.

If a durable power of attorney has been established and a person later becomes incapacitated and unable to handle their money, the path to being granted a guardianship may be simpler than if no power of attorney had been created previously.