Power of Attorney
Also known as a letter of attorney, power of attorney (POA) is a legally bound document specifying an authority figure to handle matters and manage affairs if an individual becomes unable to do so. The individual granting permission for an individual to act on their behalf is known as the principal, grantor, or donor. The receiver of the responsibilities is identified as an agent. Power of attorneys are further divided into general, special, health care, and durable POAs:
As the name suggests, this type of POA is general and broad. A general POA grants broad powers to the agent, including financial and business matters. Utilizing a general POA holds value if the principal may ever leave the country or become physically or mentally incapable of managing own affairs.
Unlike a general POA, a special POA specifies the powers of its agent. Authorization is activated under identified circumstances and may include buying a house or withdrawing money from a bank account. A principle can delegate multiple agents to act on individual responsibilities – one agent may hold the power to purchase the house while another separate agent may be withdrawing money from the principal’s bank account on their behalf.
Also known as medical power of attorney, this type of POA assigns trusted individuals to oversee medical care. The grant allows the agent to make medical decisions if the principal were to ever come incapacitated or incompetent, even with decisions regarding ending life support.
So, What Is Durable Power of Attorney?
Tagging on durable has valuable worth, as doing so allows trusted individuals to take care of important matters. Durably appointing an agent is essential in the unforeseeable circumstances of incapacitation or incompetence that may largely arise in age-related diseases including Alzheimer’s or dementia. Under a durable POA, the authority of the agent to make decisions regarding the principal remains in effect until the passing of the grantor.
In addition to actually considering the durable POA option, it is just as essential to choose the “agent” wisely. Most appointed agents are trusted loved ones, keeping best interests in mind regarding health and financial responsibilities. Close family and friends are more likely to create and delegate decisions that parallel best with the elder’s beliefs and wishes. However, attorneys or organizations may also be chosen. Along with making decisions on the principal’s behalf, agents are encouraged to keep records regarding all transactions while keeping the principal in the informed of choices. If unable to review updates as an agent, third parties can assist in its evaluation.
As a caregiver and if a durable POA is nonexistent for your elder, it is imperative to push for one. Though the senior may feel as if they are losing their independence, inform and highlight the important of a durable POA. The future is unpredictable but their fate delegated to health and financial responsibilities do not need to be. For more information on how to go about or obtain a durable power of attorney, a lawyer can offer their assistance and expertise.