Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a written document by which a person, the Principal, delegates another, referred to as the Agent or the ‘Attorney-in-Fact’ to administer the Principal’s affairs
As Power of Attorney, we serve in accordance with the specific instrument you have already completed for your durable medical or financial power of attorney needs. We stand ready to act upon the disability or incapacity of the principal and will transact on his or her behalf, many times without the need for a full guardianship or conservatorship proceeding.
A Power of Attorney is voluntary and can be canceled at any time by the Principal. If and when an individual desires to revoke their Power of Attorney, it is important the revocation be recorded to protect both individuals.
There are four main types of powers of attorney:
Limited. A limited power of attorney gives someone else the power to act in your stead for a very limited purpose. For example, a limited power of attorney could give someone the right to sign a deed to property for you on a day when you are out of town. It usually ends at a time specified in the document.
A general power of attorney is comprehensive and gives your attorney-in-fact all the powers and rights that you have yourself. For example, a general power of attorney may give your attorney-in-fact the right to sign documents for you, pay your bills, and conduct financial transactions on your behalf. You could use a general power of attorney if you were not incapacitated, but still needed someone to help you with financial matters. A general power of attorney ends on your death or incapacitation unless you rescind it before then.
A durable power of attorney can be general or limited in scope, but it remains in effect after you become incapacitated. Without a durable power of attorney, if you become incapacitated, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian. A durable power of attorney will remain in effect until your death unless you rescind it while you are not incapacitated.
For additional information on the types of guardianship click here.
The three types of guardianship are:
- Full guardianship: comprehensive decision-making authority and responsibility over personal and/or legal and financial affairs
- Limited guardianship: decision-making authority and responsibility over selected needs such as healthcare or property
- Joint guardianship: more than one individual sharing guardianship authority and responsibility.
A Temporary Guardianship is appointed for a limited time period as described in the Court Order or until the circumstance that required the appointment is cured
Court-appointed guardians are obliged to make decisions based upon what are known to be the client’s competent preferences or else upon the best interests of the client. A guardian of the estate may be given authority to assume control of bank accounts, real property, personal property and other assets. The guardian of the estate typically assumes responsibility for payment of routine bills and managing claims against the client’s assets.
A guardian of the person often has responsibility for ensuring that the client’s medical and personal care needs are met. This can entail a wide variety of assistance depending on the physical condition, cognitive status, and living situation of the client. Guardians cannot require the client to accept medical care and are very limited in their ability to direct or otherwise control the client’s personal behavior.