Durable Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney are legal tools, along with Guardianship and Conservatorship, for the delegation of decision-making authority to a third-party-usually a family member.

There are two significant differences between Power of Attorney and Guardianship or Conservatorship. Our elder law lawyers can help you decide whether a Durable Power of Attorney or a Conservatorship is the best option for your specific family situation. Please contact our office to speak to an attorney.

Powers of Attorney vs Guardianships and Conservatorships

There are important differences between establishing a Guardianship or Conservatorship and obtaining Powers of Attorney:

Powers of Attorney require the agreement of both parties. The beneficiary of care must be legally competent to enter into the agreement; he or she must have the mental capacity to understand the agreement.

Court involvement with Durable Powers of Attorney is limited to those cases whether the principal arguably "revoked" the Power of Attorney, where there is a disagreement between the agent and the principal, where there is some dispute about the validity of the document, or where a third party such as a bank is refusing to honor the document

Kinds of Powers of Attorney: Durable and Limited

There are two forms of Powers of Attorney: durable and limited. A Durable Power of Attorney continues to be in effect even if the beneficiary becomes incapacitated and it lasts until death. A non-durable Power of Attorney is no longer in effect if the beneficiary becomes incapacitated.

Powers of Attorney grant decision-making authority for specific types of decisions. A properly executed Durable Power of Attorney will allow a family member to manage:

  • Financial matters, such as the ability to sign checks, make deposits, pay bills, manage financial and business affairs, conduct retirement planning, sell property, obtain insurance, manage investments and pay taxes
  • A Durable Medical Power of Attorney gives decision-making authority for health care issues, access to HIPAA protected health information, the ability to complete medical forms, contracting for medical or professional services, and the authorization of a move to a nursing home, hospital or long-term care facility

Powers of attorney can be drafted to meet your specific needs. Our experienced attorneys can assist you in ensuring the document created includes only those specific areas of authority that you wish to delegate. Furthermore, you can specify those specific areas you wish for there to be "checks and balances" in the document.

Every family's situation is different. Let our experienced attorneys help you determine if Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, Conservatorship or Guardianship would be the best option for your family member. Contact our office to speak to a lawyer.