Durable Powers Of Attorney
If you become incapacitated and are unable to make financial or medical decisions on your own, who will make those decisions for you? If you don’t want to leave these important matters to chance, a legal document called a power of attorney can designate a trusted person, known as an “agent,” to make those decisions on your behalf. Designating a power of attorney can help prevent conflict among family members and other loved ones should you get in an accident or become unable to communicate your wishes about medical care, business or financial matters.
What Does ‘Durable’ Mean?
Making a power of attorney ‘durable’ means that the agent’s power to make decisions on your behalf remains in effect if you become mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes. The person designated as your agent has the power to make decisions on your behalf up to the point of your death. If you wish to change your power of attorney, you can do that as long as you put your wishes in writing, and you have the mental ability to do so. You can also create what is called a ‘springing’ power of attorney, which means that your agent only has the power to make decisions on your behalf once you become incapacitated and unable to make these kinds of decisions yourself.
It is important to note that a durable power of attorney can only be created by someone who still has the mental capacity to do so. This is why it is so critical to speak with a lawyer about creating a power of attorney before you need it.
A durable power of attorney is one of a number of tools available to help you plan your estate and handle your affairs. However, it is not a tool without risks, as there is potential for misuse. It’s essential to speak with an estate planning attorney who is familiar with your situation to determine if a durable power of attorney fits in with your overall estate plan.
Personalizing Your Power Of Attorney
A power of attorney is not a one-size-fits-all document; an experienced elder law attorney can evaluate your resources and needs, and help you craft a document that best fits your situation. For example, your power of attorney can be designated as starting immediately or at some given time in the future. You can also create a temporary power of attorney if, for example, you will be traveling, and need someone to conduct business on your behalf while you are away. Your power of attorney can be general, giving one person the power to make many types of decisions on your behalf, or it can also be specific, meaning it pertains only to medical or financial decisions but not both.
A medical power of attorney is often created in conjunction with a living will to ensure that the person’s wishes are made as clear as possible.
Contact Us To Make A Plan
At The Mead Law Firm P.C., in the Portland area, we can help clients create legal documents that promote peace of mind. To schedule your confidential consultation with one of our experienced Oregon attorneys, call us locally at 503-214-2712 or toll free at 888-328-1440. You can also contact us online for more information.