POWER OF ATTORNEY
Durable Power of Attorney. Under the Power of Attorney, the Grantor of the Power is appointing the Agent as Attorney in Fact to conduct all of Grantor's business affairs. The Power of Attorney is effective immediately. That means the Attorney in Fact will be able to access your bank accounts, and other holdings with the document. He or she could take your last dime and you don't have to be notified because you have given the authority in the document.
Legally, the Attorney in Fact must act only within the authority laid out in the document and must act solely for the Grantor's benefit. The Attorney in Fact may not commingle any of his or her assets with those of the Grantor. The Grantor may revoke the power at any time while still competent. The power is also terminated by the death of the Grantor.
It is very important to choose someone that you trust with these types of powers. Thought should be given as to the proposed agent's own financial responsibility, family stresses and outside influences. If innocent third parties are unaware that the Grantor has died or revoked the power, the Grantor or the estate of the Grantor may be obligated by the actions of the Attorney in Fact.
Springing Power of Attorney.
The difference between a durable POA and a springing POA is language that restricts when it becomes effective, or when does the agent has the authority to act. Springing POA's will require an event that will precipitate the need for the agent to act. Usually doctor's statements will be required before it is effective to use.
Healthcare Proxy or Surrogate
You can include healthcare provisions in your durable or springing Power of Attorney so that your named agent can make medical decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so. A separate document can be drafted for your healthcare wishes also.
A Living Will is a document that allows you to make end of life decisions now, while you are competent, in the possibility that you will be unable to make those choices later. You can make choices concerning feeding tubes, respirators, donating organs and dying at home. You can also name an agent to make sure that your wishes are followed. Each state's laws differ to a degree on what is allowed to be decided and when the Living Will must be followed.
A Living Will is not the same document as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
A DNR states that if you have an emergency situation and your heart stops beating or renders you unconscious that you do not wish to have any measures taken to resuscitate you.
Attorney Melissa Rodden Mays is licensed in Kentucky and Indiana. This website contains general information about legal matters. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney. If you have specific questions about any legal matter you should not delay in consulting with an attorney.