A Power of Attorney ("POA") is an important estate planning tool by which the Principal grants authority to a person whom they have appointed as their Agent or Attorney-in-Fact.
A Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”) empowers an Attorney-in-Fact to act on the Principal's behalf. A DPOA may address both financial and health care decisions and may take effect immediately or only upon incapacity of the Principal, depending upon the Principal's preference.
A General Durable Power of Attorney (for financial matters) empowers an Attorney-in-Fact to act on the Principal's behalf regarding financial matters. Authorizing an Attorney-in-Fact to act on a Principal's behalf does not take away the Principal's ability to make their own financial decisions when able to do so. Typically, a trusted family member is authorized as an Attorney-in-Fact. If the Principal becomes incapacitated, the Attorney-in-Fact is authorized to make decisions on their behalf.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care empowers the Attorney-in-Fact to make health care decisions on the Principal's behalf if they are unable to do so. Typically, a family member is authorized to make medical decisions when the Principal is unable to communicate their wishes.
An advance Health Care Directive is an important estate planning document which makes known a Principal's desires concerning medical treatment and end of life decisions.
An Attorney-in-Fact is held to the standard of a fiduciary and is required to act in the Principal's best interests and according to the wishes expressed by the Principal.
A DPOA is a simple and inexpensive way to avoid guardianship. If a person is alleged to be incapacitated but has executed a General Durable Power of Attorney (for financial decisions) and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Matters and Health Care Directive, then the court may not require a guardianship. Rather, the Attorney-in-Factdesignated by the Principal, will have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.
We can provide counsel so that you understand what a Power of Attorney is and why it is important to you and your family. We can assist in helping you determine who would be an appropriate Attorney-in-Fact to designate as your agent. We will draft the documents which are appropriate for you.
If you would like to discuss questions about Durable Powers of Attorney, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509.468.0551.