If you should have a stroke, or for any reason you are not mentally able to handle your affairs, the only way your family can pay your bills or otherwise care for your affairs is by having the Court declare you incapacitated and appoint a guardian for you. This proceeding is expensive and not always very satisfactory because the guardian may need to return to Court periodically to get specific Court orders to do specific things. In addition, having a parent or other loved one declared incapacitated is an indignity most people would not like to be involved with.
By giving someone whom you trust a general, durable power of attorney, no Court proceedings are necessary for the agent to accomplish most, if not all, of your business. The word “durable” means that the power of attorney will continue to be valid even if you have lost your mental ability to care for your own affairs.