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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS > Estate Planning Questions & Answers > WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER of ATTORNEY?

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A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes someone to act on your behalf while you are alive, and if for some reason, you are not available, or capable of acting on your own behalf. 

The person appointed to act for you is called your attorney-in-fact or agent. 

There are basically two types of powers of attorney.  A “Special” Power of Attorney authorizes the agent to act in a limited capacity, or to act on your behalf for only certain limited or specified purposes. 

A “General” Power of Attorney authorizes the agent to do virtually anything you could do.  A General Power of Attorney is a very powerful document.  Either type can be made so that it is effective either immediately upon signing it, or effective at some later date, usually tied to a determination that you (the Principal) are legally incompetent.