A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place. In case you ever become mentally incapacitated, you’ll need what are known as “durable” powers of attorney for medical care, finances, business decisions, and other important and urgent life decisions. This durable power creates an agency relationship pursuant to which the person holding the power, the attorney-in-fact, is able to act on behalf of the person giving the power, the principal. The durable power of attorney shall survive the principal’s incapacity should that event occur.
The power of attorney can be limited in nature specifying authority for specific acts, called a limited power of attorney” or general in nature allowing the attorney-in-fact to act with full authority of the principal. The breadth of a General Power of Attorney is a power that should only be given to someone that the principal trusts implicitly. A holder of a power of attorney is entitled to act within its terms without any kind of court review, permission, or supervision of any kind. However, during the time that the principal is competent, the power of attorney given may be revoked at any time.
A power of attorney can be structured as an immediate power or a “springing power.” If structured as a springing power, the authority of the attorney-in-fact is determined by a finding of incapacity of the principal. A springing power allows you to keep control over your affairs unless and until you become incapacitated, when it springs into effect. However, springing powers of attorney can cause serious delays and problems for your agent. The springing power will likely take a doctor’s finding in conjunction with a court petition to determine incompetency and thus activation of that springing power. Contact us today for help with your durable power of attorney.