A Power of Attorney is a grant of authority by one person (the "Principal") to another person (the “Agent” or "Attorney-in-fact") to act on the Principal's behalf. The grant of a Power of Attorney is very useful as it allows one to provide for the management of his or her affairs in the event of incapacity or unavailability.
Springing Durable Power of Attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is established for the specific purpose of allowing you to name an individual to act for you when you become incapacitated. The Springing DPOA gives the power to the individual whom you have specified to act for you only when you become incompetent. The Agent under a Springing DPOA has no authority while you are competent. The Durable Power of Attorney rules are different in each state. As you move, your DPOA is one of the documents that you should have reviewed by a local estate planning attorney to make sure it complies with that particular state's legal requirements.
Durable Health Care Power of Attorney. The primary purpose of the Durable Health Care Power of Attorney (DHCPOA) is to appoint an Agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. The DHCPOA applies in all situations in which you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself, not just when you are terminally ill. The DHCPOA you create only becomes effective upon your incapacity. It gives broad powers of health care decisions to whomever you have named as your Durable Health Care Power of Agent. No one has the legal authority to act for a family member if that individual is unconscious or incompetent unless they have a power of attorney, in some cases, not even your spouse. Even parents of adult children cannot authorize emergency treatment for them without a Power of Attorney. If no one has been appointed as your Agent, then it is up to the courts to make decisions on your behalf.
For more information on Powers of Attorney, to help decide which one is right for you and your family, and to draft the necessary documents for your Power of Attorney, please contact the attorneys at JEFFREY BURR.