If you have a claim or a lawsuit, you should discuss with your attorney whether you have a Durable Power of Attorney.  A power of attorney is a document that you sign that gives another person the authority to take certain actions that you could do personally.  For example, you can grant another person the right and ability to sign your name to a deed or other contract.  You can give the person the right to pay your bills or purchase a car for you.  Anything that you can do legally involving your property, you can grant another person the right to do it for you.  Normally a power of attorney is automatically revoked by law when you die or become mentally disabled to the point that you cannot mentally take action for yourself.  However, a “durable” power of attorney is one that states in the document that it either become effective on your mental disability or that the power of attorney you grant while you are lucid is not revoked by your later mental impairment.  And this is what is important involving your claim or lawsuit.  Should you become mentally disabled during the pendency of your suit, the person to whom you granted the durable power of attorney could complete the settlement and grant a release to the defendant without having to take out a special guardianship or appoint another attorney (called an attorney ad litem) to oversee the settlement on your behalf.  Of course, you would only want to grant the power of attorney to someone you trusted completely and had confidence would not defraud you or your dependents of your share of the money.  It is always best to have a durable power of attorney, just in case its needed.  It can save a lot of time and money in winding up your case.