An Overview of Durable Power of Attorney

An Overview of Durable Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is a type of legal document that empowers another person to act on your behalf in certain situations. This is a handy stipulation to have in your estate plan in the event you become incapacitated.

If a power of attorney is “durable,” that means the document will remain in effect even upon your incapacitation. Compare this to other powers of attorney that are only active while you are conscious and technically able to handle matters yourself.

You will likely want to have a person who is able to handle your medical and financial affairs, and to do so you will likely need to prepare two separate documents. Here’s a quick look at what you should know about both of these powers of attorney.

Medical power of attorney

This document outlines your healthcare wishes for your health care agent to follow in the event you become incapacitated and unable to express these wishes personally to your doctor. Your agent will work with care providers to ensure you get your desired medical care. He or she is bound by the law to follow your treatment preferences to the fullest extent possible. You can supplement this document with a living will to provide more detailed instructions to agents and healthcare providers.  In some states, like Florida, state law allows appointment of a health care surrogate.  That designation, as compared to the appointment of an agent under a medical power of attorney, may be a better option.

Financial power of attorney

This document gives another person the power to make financial transactions on your behalf while you are incapacitated. This might range from buying or selling investments or even your home to filling out and submitting tax returns on your behalf.

For more information about durable power of attorney and why it’s an important part of any estate plan, contact an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.