A durable power of attorney allows someone that you select (your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to manage all or some of your financial affairs when you are unable to do so. It is called a "durable" power of attorney because the agent's authority endures beyond the point at which you cannot act for yourself. In general, if a power of attorney is not "durable," then the agent's ability to act terminates when you are incapable of acting yourself. It is an invaluable tool to avoid or minimize "living probate," the situation in which an increasing number of Americans now find themselves, in which they are unable to manage their own property due to a debilitating injury or disease. Without an agent already appointed under a durable power of attorney, court involvement will often be necessary to manage the person's finances.