You must have heard about the term power of attorney. But do you know what a durable power of attorney is? Well, if you don’t then you have to the right place. That’s because in this particular article we are going to discuss everything important about a durable power of attorney.
Definition of Durable Power of Attorney
To define it in simple words, a durable power of attorney is basically an exclusive type of power of attorney. It is different from a general power of attorney. It allows the agent to act on behalf of the principle and stays in effect even when the principal becomes incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be either springing or immediate. In case of an immediate power of attorney, it starts immediately after the execution of the durable power of attorney. In contrast to this, the springing power of attorney comes in effect only after the occurrence of a specific event. For example, when the principle is disabled.
It is extremely important that you choose the right agent when you decide to create a durable power of attorney. You should contact a person (agent) who you can trust and sure of the fact that he/she will not take advantage of you when you become incapacitated. This is one of the biggest reasons why most people choose a family member or a close friend to be the agent. A durable power of attorney also comes along with many benefits as well. The legal details are covered in the UDPA (Uniform Durable Power of Attorney). You can revise or revoke the durable power of attorney as long as you are competent to take a well-informed decision.
A form of Durable Power of Attorney:
The form of durable power of attorney allows a person preferably known as the principle to appoint a family member or a close friend known as the agent to oversee the financial, medical and legal matters on the principle’s behalf. By the term durable, we mean that the responsibility of the agent will stay intact even after the principle gets incapacitated.
You can download the form of durable power of attorney from specific sites from the internet or you can even avail it from financial, health care institutions, non-profit organizations, and office supply stores. The form follows a particular format that you need to maintain. All you need to do is fill up the form. Once you are done with the form make sure that you go through the form thoroughly. The principle should also give it a thorough read and decide whether anything needs to be removed or included. The next step is to sign the form or the document in the front of a notary. For this, you need to find a notary agent. Both the principle and the agent needs to have a copy of the attorney document as proof. Therefore, you need to keep it safe.
Durable Power of Attorney on Finances:
The durable financial power of attorney is basically a way to allow a person or an agent to handle your finances on your behalf. This is mainly done when you become incapacitated and are not in the state to make any decisions for yourself anymore. This power is granted through a form of the document. This is considered helpful not only for you but also for your family in the time of crisis. To be more precise, it grants a person or an agent who is chosen by you the power to exercise control over your finances on your behalf. The agent actually gets the legal authority to act on your behalf. However, it’s the principle that sets the limit to the power of the agent. You can grant or limit the power according to your own convenience. While setting the limits you need to decide what kind of work you want your agent to perform for you. Your agent is free to act based on the limits set by you.
Medical Cover and Health Care
A durable power of attorney for health care and medical cover allows you with the freedom to appoint a person or an agent to make all important decisions about your health on your behalf. This is mainly done when you are not in the position to make decisions for yourself anymore. To be more precise, when you are incapacitated. This basically applies to all types of medical conditions and health care decisions.
The main thing about health care power of attorney is that that they are not limited to situations in which you are in a persistent vegetative state or terminally ill or in a condition that is narrowly defined by the state law. It is also not limited to life-prolonging procedures as well. You may have to face serious issues if you do not have a health care power of attorney and a living will ready.
Your medical agent power of attorney has the right to work with your health care providers and doctors to make sure that you get the required medical attention. To be precise, your agent is legally bound to follow your treatment preferences to the extent that he/she has to know every detail related to your medical condition.
Who can take Durable Power of Attorney?
Anyone can apply for a durable power of attorney when needed. This is mainly applied by people when they are well aware of their situation and know that they may get incapacitated at any moment. Therefore, they start finding an agent who is usually someone you trust like a family member or close friend who will act on your behalf and has the legal right to make all important decisions for you. A durable power of attorney can be a financial one and health care. We have already discussed the two types of durable power of attorney in the above two points.
The principle has the right to set the limit of the agent. Not only that, but the principle can also revoke the agent if needed. A person usually applies for a durable power of attorney when he or she knows that they are not in the conditions to make the right decisions anymore. More precisely, when they are incapacitated. Well, this is when they appoint an agent who will handle their financial and healthcare-related decisions in the future. This is an important step to make if you don’t want to face complications later on.
Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney:
There are certain legal requirements that the agent needs to fulfill in order to take the position of a durable power of attorney. However, the requirements to become a durable power of attorney may differ from state to state. But the two main important elements that remain the same include:
- Soundness of mind: The agent or the person signing the document should be mentally competent. A person who is not mentally stable cannot act as a durable power of attorney. The person should understand the importance of the document that he/she is signing. The person should know what he/she is signing for or what they have to do. Also, the person should not act under pressure. A person needs to sign the document on his/her own will. There should not be the pressure of any kind from anyone.
- Witnesses: In almost every state, the signature of the agent must be notarized. If not then at least two adults who are not related to either of the parties must be present as a witness at the time of signing the document. In some states, you are required to record the durable power of attorney with your country’s record’s office.
These are two of the main requirements that are required to be met by the person willing to be a durable power of attorney for his/her principle.
How to apply for Durable Power of Attorney?
In order to apply for durable power of attorney you need to do the following:
- The first step is to select an agent who you think is fit for the position. The agent should preferably a person who you trust completely.
- Once you have decided the agent you need to get the durable power of attorney form and fill up the details in it.
- Before signing the document make sure that you have read the form thoroughly.
- The next step is to find a notary officer. The form is required to be signed in front of a notary officer.
- Once the signing process is done keep a copy of the document with you and give a copy to your agent. Both of you are required to keep the copy safely.
Well, now you know the important details of a durable power of attorney. If you wish to know more then you can check out the internet.