A Power of Attorney is a written document authorizing a representative to perform certain acts on your behalf. Many institutions, such as hospitals, banks and, in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service, require a Power of Attorney if it is your wish for someone to
The equal dignity rule is a principle of law that requires an authorization for someone performing certain acts for another person to have been appointed with the same formality as required for the act the representative is going to perform. This means, for example, that if a principal authorizes someone to sell the principal’s house or other real property, and the law requires a contract for the sale of real property to be in writing, then the authorization for the other person to sign the sales contract and deed must be in writing too.
A Power of Attorney may be special or limited to one specified act or type of act, or it may be general, and whatever it defines as its scope is what a court will enforce as being its scope. (It may also be limited as to time.) Unless stated in the Power of Attorney, it becomes ineffective if the grantor dies or becomes “incapacitated,” meaning unable to grant such a power, because of physical injury or mental illness, for example, unless the grantor (or principal) specifies that the Power of Attorney will continue to be effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated (but any such power ends when the grantor dies). This type of Power of Attorney is called a durable Power of Attorney.
A great estate planning document is the General Durable Power of Attorney which allows you to appoint an Attorney In Fact to act on your behalf. This documents will allow someone to do your banking, enter into contracts, sign necessary financial documents, pay your bills, etc., the same as if you were doing these tasks yourself.
We also offer a Health Care Power of Attorney, another advanced directive document, which empowers a certain person or persons to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated or unable to make health care decisions for yourself including terminating care and “pulling the plug” on machines keeping a critically and terminally ill patient alive. Health care decisions include the power to consent, refuse consent or withdraw consent to any type of medical care, treatment, service or procedure.