Powers Of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that provides some of the protections of a guardianship or conservatorship but is more limited in scope. Powers of attorney may be general and durable or temporary. They can also be “springing,” that is they only apply after a specific event or circumstance arises, like your incapacity. Or they can be limited to a single transaction.
Powers of attorney may also be drafted for purposes, like:
- Mental health care
- General medical care
- Financial management
- Parental powers over minors (for limited periods of time)
Because a power of attorney allows another person to act on your behalf, it is a powerful document that should be drafted carefully by an attorney who understands your situation.
What is a general power of attorney?
A general power of attorney, sometimes referred to as a financial power of attorney, is often used to allow someone to make financial and other general decisions for you. The person giving the power is called the principal and the person getting the power is called the agent or attorney-in-fact.
A general power of attorney gives the designated agent the authority to make decisions regarding the principal’s financial affairs. This type of power is often used when the principal will be traveling and unavailable to manage his or her own affairs for a period of time, when an elderly person simply wants a trusted loved one to manage their affairs for them, or when a person is ill or incapacitated and cannot manage their own financial affairs for that reason.
General powers of attorney can be drafted for differing situations and for various periods of time.
What is a medical power of attorney?
Like a general power of attorney, a medical power of attorney is more limited in scope than a guardianship or conservatorship, but it still carries a large responsibility.
With a medical power of attorney, a person that you choose can act on your behalf to make certain medical decisions for your care when you are unable to so. This could occur, for example, if you become very sick or incapacitated, or suffer from a serious injury that leaves you unable to speak for yourself. A medical power of attorney is also called a healthcare power of attorney.
Medical powers of attorney can be drafted for differing situations and for various periods of time.
What is a mental healthcare power of attorney?
A mental healthcare power of attorney is a document in which you to appoint someone to manage your mental health care decisions should you become incapable or incompetent to handle this for yourself. One of the specific authorities granted in this document is the power to admit you into a psychiatric treatment facility.
It is important to know that a mental health care power of attorney is only valid upon your incapacitation or inability to express your wishes relating to your mental healthcare. It is often used when there is a known diagnosis related to mental health issues or one that that could eventually lead to mental health issues.
For example, if you are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers’ disease, but are still competent to make decision on your own behalf, you can put this document in place in case there is a mental healthcare need down the road. A valid mental healthcare power of attorney keeps your family from having to seek guardianship over you should mental health issues leading to your incapacity or inability to express your wishes arise.
For help creating a power of attorney contact Victoria Ames, Esq., with ARTEMiS Law Firm today.