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 (POA) is a legal action that allows an individual to act on another’s behalf as outlined in the document. In the case you become incapacitated, this document allows you to choose someone you trust to handle your affairs, such as making payments, making medical decisions, and managing your assets. The person who drafts this document is called the Principal and the person appointed to make your decisions is the Attorney-in-fact

There are different types of POAs that grant different courses of action:

Limited Power of Attorney

A 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 doesn’t give full power for the attorney-in-fact to make decisions for the principal. A Limited POA can give an appointed individual the ability to make specific payments on the principal’s behalf if the principal is unable to do so themselves.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPA)

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) also 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. Drafting a Durable Power of Attorney will eliminate difficult and confusing decisions your family would otherwise need to make. A DPA allows someone to pay medical bills, make mortgage payments, ensure medical care is paid for, etc. in the case you are unable to do so yourself. 

A Power of Attorney authorizes an individual to make decisions on your behalf in the case you cannot make them yourself. A DPA can perform the same functions as a POA, but has a primary difference. A DPA is different from a typical POA because it survives incapacitation, meaning it remains in effect past incapacity. There are two specific categories of DPAs that are very important to an estate plan: financial and medical.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

A financial DPA is self explanatory; it allows someone you (the principal) appoint to make financial decisions on your behalf should you be unable to yourself. This type of DPA is strictly for making financial decisions. A financial DPA is also a fiduciary. Similarly, a medical DPA only grants the power to make medical decisions. 

Durable Medical Power of Attorney

A medical DPA is often confused with a health care directive. A health care directive deals specifically with 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 medical decisions for yourself if you are incapacitated. 

Springing Power of Attorney

A Springing Power of Attorney is a type of DPA. This document “springs'' into effect without any signature. Once you sign and execute this document, it stays dormant until you are incapacitated. In such an event, this document will immediately take effect. Likewise, should you regain capacitation, the power of the individual making your decisions will be revoked. The Springing POA then becomes dormant again. A Springing Power of Attorney is very easy to revoke. 


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.