A power of attorney is a legal document in which you name another person to act on your behalf. You should also name a successor to the person named in the event that he or she ceases to serve. This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact. You can give your appointed agent broad or limited management powers. The agent of a durable power of attorney should be given broad powers to act in your place. You should choose this person carefully, because he or she will generally be able to sell, invest and spend your assets. Often, people name their spouse as the agent or if no spouse is available, a family member or close friend.
A traditional power of attorney terminates upon your disability or death. However, a durable power of attorney will continue during incapacity to provide a financial management safety net. A durable power of attorney terminates upon your death.