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Durable Power of Attorney- DPOA. A stronger, longer lasting - usually - form of regular Power of Attorney is given to an individual by another individual or "principal".

First the principal must be mentally competent to assign/give DPOA to another person. This person can be anyone of age and mentally competent that the principal chooses. It need not be a family member and in fact there are professional DPOAs that can be hired for this responsibility.

From there DPOA can vary from state to state. Some require an attorney to draw up the document others states allow do-it-yourself versions that can use more generic forms that can be had on line or even made available through various senior services. Some states require a notary to witness and record the document- others do not.

If it is financially feasible it is best to have the DPOA document/agreement drawn up by an attorney and for it to be made as detailed and specific as possible - allowing a broad generalization of power is never a good idea as it opens the door for abuse. Also it is a good idea to name one person DPOA and to name a successor should the first person become unwilling or unable to continue with the responsibility. Some people name two separate people DPOA - one for financial and one for health care. Personally, I think it's best to have the same individual responsible for both as often finances and health care are tightly intertwined or some situations can be a bit grey as to which category of responsibility a decision lay - for instance an in-home personal caregiver for safety but non-medical care. If there are two separate people named it is crucial that they are able to get along and work together for the benefit of the principal.

A few things to keep in mind: POA and DPOA does not give power "over" the principal. I see that wording a lot here and find it disturbing. DPOA does not give the power to force someone to live as the DPOA would like or to take control of the persons money/assets. Not if the person is still legally competent. It allows the DPOA to make decisions in addition to the principal or in the place of the principal but not INSTEAD of the principal- if that makes sense.

I mentioned the word "agreement" earlier in referring to the DPOA document. The DPOA is agreeing to act and make decisions as if the principal is making the chooses - what the principal would prefer.

Also, if there are siblings and/or other family involved in the principals life, I would encourage the principal to allow the sharing of information among other family members. It need not be detailed - but preventing the DPOA from being able to share at least some information can easily put them in an adversarial role with family - which causes a lot of needless hassle and heartache for everyone involved. Also, it can lead to a DPOA becoming a bit power hungry, with a sense of omnipotence - flaunting their perceived total control over the principal and their assets to others involved in the principals care/life. Never a good thing. 

Lastly - be very, very cautious about allowing the DPOA the power to give gifts or to pay themselves. I'm not saying not to allow this - just be very careful, very specific and very conservative. For many, having someone else's financial resources at their fingertips with no one else to answer to or monitor the accounting - well, it becomes too much of a temptation.

Hope this has helped.
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DPOA, maybe?
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SweattFamily, I am not familiar with the initials DOP. Please explain that this means.
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