Power of attorney is the right to make crucial decisions on another individual’s behalf. The person on whose behalf these decisions are made is known as the principal. Often, these decisions are about the individual’s finances or health. The individual trusted to act on the principal’s behalf, known as the agent, must be able to act with the principal’s best interest in mind and make decisions based solely on his or her wishes, disregarding the agent’s own emotions.
Durable power of attorney is one of three types of power of attorney. The other types are known as general power of attorney and limited power of attorney. With general power of attorney, the agent has a broad list of actions he or she may make on the principal’s behalf. With limited power of attorney, the agent is only permitted to perform one or a few specific tasks for the principal. Limited power of attorney might be granted only for one specific act, such as selling the principal’s home.
With durable power of attorney, the agent makes decisions on the principal’s behalf while he or she is still capable of doing so. Depending on the principal’s wishes, the agent’s power of attorney may be revoked when the principal becomes incapacitated or continue beyond this point, up to and following his or her death. At Sperling Ducker, we work with individuals to determine the party best suited to hold their durable power of attorney and work out the legal process of establishing an agent.
Power of Attorney in Estate Planning
Naming the individual who has power of attorney for your decisions is part of the estate planning process. This occurs alongside the naming of your beneficiaries and the development of your living will, which is a document that details how you want to receive medical treatment and at which point, if any, you do not want to be resuscitated. If the terms of your living will must be carried out, your agent will be the individual to ensure that your wishes are upheld.
Talk to your attorney about what happens with each type of power of attorney and which type or types are necessary for you to name in your estate plan. In some cases, an individual might want to name more than one party to have power of attorney, assigning each a single type. For example, you may assign one individual to have limited power of attorney to sell your business and another to have general power of attorney regarding your healthcare.
Elder Law Attorney in Winter Park
If you have been asked to hold durable power of attorney for another individual or you need to establish this for yourself, contact Sperling Ducker at 407-645-3297 for legal advice and representation in Winter Park. We can answer any questions you have about power of attorney and other elder law topics. Call us today or visit us on the web to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm.