Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is an instrument through which you may designate someone to act as your agent or attorney-in-fact to perform certain acts on your behalf. If the instrument is properly drafted as a durable power of attorney, the document will remain in force if you become unable to act on your own behalf, incapacitated, or incompetent. Having a durable power of attorney in force can avoid having the court step in to appoint a guardian or conservator for the management of your assets.
If your spouse signs a durable power of attorney naming you as the attorney-in-fact, you would be allowed to sign for your spouse if she or he were incapacitated. It would empower you to sign income tax returns on your spouse’s behalf and to be the recipient of certain of your spouse’s benefits, such as Social Security payments.