Massachusetts Durable Power of Attorney Form
A Massachusetts Durable Power of Attorney is a type of planning contract used for selecting and nominating an “agent” to handle your personal financial matters in your stead. The document is completed when you are in good mental stability, as it can’t be completed if you cannot make clear-headed decisions. With the form, the most important decision is in selecting someone who will respect your wishes. Because they’ll have access to your bank accounts and more, they could potentially cause significant financial damage. Choosing a spouse (if applicable) is the most commonly-selected. By virtue of its “durable” nature, an agent elected by the principal is required to continue handling your affairs regardless of your medical state. Having said, it does terminate on its own should you pass away.
Laws: Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (Ch. 190B)
Conservatorship vs. POA: In Massachusetts, the courts can initiate a conservatorship so long a person petitions the court for one. A conservatorship is different than a POA in the fact that it is not filed before the principal’s incapacitation. The conservator (person ordered through the conservatorship) has similar decision-making powers to the agent and can be granted varying levels of power by the court depending on the principal’s needs. Additionally, if a POA is already in-effect and a petition for a conservatorship is created, both can exist at the same time so long the conservatorship is responsible for making separate types of decisions than the agent. However, by creating a POA before incapacitation, in most cases, this is seen as a replacement of a conservatorship.