What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

What is a durable power of attorney? A Power of Attorney designation gives someone the right to make decisions on your behalf in a number of different matters.

A Durable Power of Attorney allows for that decision-making to continue, for the designated medical and financial issues that it covers after you become incapacitated or are mentally unable to think for and act for yourself.

Here is a further breakdown of how a durable power of attorney works in practice.

Power of Attorney Over Medical and Healthcare Matters

A medical Power of Attorney allows you to make decisions about a person’s medical needs and healthcare. In practice, the Durable Medical Power of Attorney will allow you to continue to make those decisions, even if the person is no longer mentally competent or stable enough to make the necessary decisions on their behalf. For instance, the Durable Medical Power of Attorney might enable you to you decide on the type of care to provide a person who is in a coma, up to and even including, enacting a do not resuscitate request on their behalf. 

Not all medical POA’s concern life or death decisions, however.  In addition to making decisions concerning medical care, you will also be able to make decisions concerning long-term or palliative care. For instance, due to age or disability, if the person who is ill, incapable, or injured is no longer able to choose the type of facility where they would like to go, it will be up to you to determine which facility best suits their needs and will provide them with the type of care they need to be comfortable and secure. 

Power of Attorney Over Financial Matters

In contrast to a Medical Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney enables you to make decisions concerning the finances and accounts of the person who granted you the authority. You will be able to make decisions when it comes to paying bills, authorizing specific changes to financial accounts, and making sure all financial obligations are met as necessary.

As a Financial Power of Attorney, you will also be enabled to establish trusts and other accounts to care for the individual’s family and children. You can also create an account that will be used to cover any final expenses that may not have been previously accounted for.

As Financial Power of Attorney, it will be up to you to account for any money you spend while you are performing your duties.

General and Durable Power of Attorney

Whereas the previous sections covered the scope of various powers of attorney, this section speaks to the nature of the tool.  There are two types of powers of attorney to cover

General Power of Attorney

The designation can be revoked at any time if you no longer feel you need it. If you prefer, you can also place an expiration date on the document so it will cancel automatically. The authority associated with a Power of Attorney document will end when you die. A Power of Attorney designation will also terminate if you become mentally unable to care for yourself.

Durable Power of Attorney

This is where a Durable Power of Attorney is beneficial. A Durable Power of Attorney remains in effect no matter what your mental capacity is.

Let Us Help You with Your Power of Attorney Designation

We can explain what a Durable Power of Attorney is and how it affects you and your family.

Both medical and financial Powers of Attorney can be designated as “Durable” so that decisions can be made on your behalf any time the situation arises. When you plan your estate or are writing your Last Will and Testament, including a Durable Power of Attorney is extremely beneficial. Because both medical and financial POAs are separate, they can be granted to two individuals, or you can give one person control over both areas.

Whether you choose to offer a Power of Attorney for a specific amount of time or for an indefinite period, you can rest assured your wishes will be followed and your family will be taken care of.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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