For years, we have helped friends and family with their estate planning needs; one particular person has had The Cobb Law Group draft multiple Georgia Powers of Attorney over the years. Each time, I get a telephone call from the principle (the person asking me to draft the form) to change the name of his agent (the person named in the power to act on behalf of the principle). Each time that we have this telephone call, we discuss the specific type of power of attorney he wants such as whether it should be a “general” power of attorney or a “specific” power of attorney; similarly, we discuss the duration that the power of attorney should last.
This principle (also sometimes called the Maker) typically grants the power of attorney to one of his children in case he were to become incapacitated and could no longer manage his own business affairs. Typical powers of attorney terminate automatically (by law!) upon a person’s legal incompetence. In order to extend the agent’s authority to continue beyond the principle’s legal incapacity, a power of attorney must include specific language which makes the power of attorney durable. An example of the language which we have used in the past is as follows:
“The rights, powers and authority granted in this instrument shall continue in the event of the principle’s incompetency and shall not be revoked by said incompetency; this Power of Attorney shall not be affected by the principle’s subsequent disability or incapacity, or lapse of time.”
Thus, after speaking with my client, we always include “durable” provisions in his power of attorney.
Recently, this same client decided to update his power of attorney. Rather than calling me and scheduling an appointment, he decided that it would be considerably less expensive (and easier!) if he used our Georgia Virtual Law Firm. When it came time to choose which power of attorney form he desired from our list of Georgia legal documents available online, we received an email message asking “What does the word durable mean?”
This is great, and it’s a wonderful–albeit unintentional–benefit of using a virtual law firm. Although I had explained durable provisions several times before to this client, it never “clicked” for him. Instead, it took him seeing the option on a website and weighing that option against the other options to begin to grasp the legal difference. Thus, his email was asking for specific information to help him make a better-informed legal choice. Now, he fully understands what distinguishes a Georgia Durable Power of Attorney from a standard power attorney, and I bet he will never again have to ask any attorney what a durable provision is!
If you or a loved one is interesting in having your own Georgia Durable Power of Attorney, please visit our Georgia Virtual Law Firm for a low-cost, effective form.
This is a general information article and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. The content above has been edited for conciseness and additional relevant points are omitted for space constraints. Readers are encouraged to seek counsel from a construction lawyer for advice on a particular circumstance.