Assigning a trusted relative or friend to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation is arguably the most important of all legal documents
Powers of Attorney (POA)
Powers of Attorney are legal documents that allow an individual to be appointed to act on another's behalf, as outlined in the document. The person who executes this document is called the Principal, and the person appointed to make decisions for the Principal is the Attorney-in-fact.
There are different types of POAs that grant different powers:
Limited Power of Attorney
Limited Power of Attorney is a type of POA where the attorney-in-fact is only able to make certain decisions outlined in the document. This type of POA does not give broad powers to the attorney-in-fact to make decisions for the Principal. A Limited POA gives very narrow powers to an Attorney-in-fact to make specific decisions or perform specific tasks on behalf of the Principal. The Limited Power Of Attorney is often seen in real estate transactions when the Buyer or Seller may not be able to be physically present at the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. In such a case, the Buyer or Seller could elect to appoint an Attorney-in-fact to sign on their behalf by and through a Limited Power of Attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPA)
A Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) grants someone else the ability to make decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. This document will stay in effect while you are incapacitated. The "Durable" portion of the Power of Attorney means that the powers granted by the Principal to the Attorney-in-fact survive the Principal's incapacity. Essentially, this document allows a Principal to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. That way, the Principal's affairs are not left unattended during their time of incapacity. These documents can allow someone to pay bills on your behalf, make mortgage payments and ensure medical care is provided to you or anything else you may need during your incapacity. Typically, Durable Power of Attorney comes in two main variants: Durable Financial Power of Attorney for financial decisions and Durable Medical Power of Attorney for medical decisions.
Durable Medical Power of Attorney
A Durable Medical Power of Attorney is often confused with a HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE. A health care directive deals specifically with artificial life-prolonging measures and what a physician can or cannot do. In other words, it only outlines directions a physician must follow. A medical DPA allows you to appoint someone to make all medical decisions.
Springing Power of Attorney
A Springing Power of Attorney is a type of POA/DPA. This document "springs'' into effect without any signature. Once you sign and execute this document, it stays dormant until you are incapacitated. In the event of incapacity, this document will immediately "spring" into effect. Conversely, if you regain capacitation, the power of the individual making your decisions can be easily revoked by the person who has regained capacity. The Springing POA then becomes dormant again.
How We Can Help
Baxter Legal Services is available to create a valid POA/DPA that will give you peace of mind in knowing that your financial and medical needs will be taken care of responsibly in the event that you become incapacitated in any way. Call us today to set-up an appointment to discuss your POA/DPA needs.