here are several tools available to manage and care for persons who are disabled or incapacitated. When an adult becomes incapable of caring for themselves, their property or their dependents may have a guardian appointed for them.
With adequate planning, other options such as power of attorney for health care and property are available in some situations.
At Delaney Delaney & Voorn, Ltd., we devote ourselves to ensuring you have sufficient and accurate information to enable you to make the best decision during this difficult time.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that authorizes one person (the agent), to act on behalf of another person (the principal). A power of attorney may be for health care or for property.
A power of attorney for health care designates an agent to make crucial health care decisions. A heath care power of attorney may also provide specific instructions to the agent regarding particular treatments such as dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and the use of feeding tubes, respirators, or other methods of life support.
A property power of attorney is commonly used to allow an individual to appoint someone else to handle the sale of a car or house. Property powers of attorney can also be used to appoint an agent to handle nearly all types of financial transactions and decisions. A “durable” power of attorney is one that does not terminate if the principal becomes disabled or incompetent. All powers of attorney for property terminate on the death of the principal.
The powers granted to the agent can vary. An agent’s powers may include complete authority to manage all affairs and make all decisions or they may be limited to specific transactions. The power of attorney may contain a termination date, or restrictions on the agent’s authority. A power of attorney may be revoked at any time while the principal is still competent.
Powers of attorney are only valid if executed by someone who is legally competent. They are best used as part of a comprehensive estate plan, prepared and executed well in advance of their necessity. Generally, once a power of attorney is necessary, it is already too late for someone to make one. It is also possible to discharge one agent and appoint another.