A Durable Power of Attorney is created so that you can name a person to take care of your financial affairs in the event you cannot speak for yourself. The agent you name in your Durable Power of Attorney can only step in after meeting certain requirements, as stated in the document. The agent is given the discretion to act on your behalf, and if the agent accepts, is obligated to act in your best interest. The agent is given the authority to to pay bills, buy or sell property, and open or close accounts. Your agent should be someone you trust to keep your best interests in mind, and someone who can be responsible with your estate while you make a recovery.
In many cases the spouse of the principal (you) is named as an immediate power of attorney (with immediate power). Any other agent only has springing authority, meaning that the agent’s power goes into effect when either the spouse cannot act or the principal cannot speak for him or herself. Additionally, a common misconception is that agency extends to your estate, but the agency relationship ends when an individual passes, and the will controls any assets not held in trust or already disposed of.
Similar to the Durable Power of Attorney, your Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA) is where you designate an agent to act on your behalf for medical decisions. The Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, included in our will and trust package, also allows for that agent to make health care decisions related to your mental health. Your HCPOA agent will have the ability to make decisions that you have not already designated. The HCPOA agent will not be able to alter or change the decisions you make in the Living Will.
Again, you should make sure to choose an agent who you trust to make your decisions, and a person who will be able to make those decisions despite potential grief regarding your condition. When you choose an HCPOA agent, consider someone who you know will have your interests at heart and will be able to act only in your best interest.