A Power of Attorney is a written document by which a person, the Principal, delegates another, the Attorney in Fact, to administer the Principle’s affairs.
Medical Powers of Attorney can include a grant of authority over personal issues, including the ability to make substitute health care decisions. This is a valuable tool for ensuring that the preferences the Principal has stated in the Living Will/Health Care Directive are followed. A Financial Power of Attorney delegates administration of the Principle’s finances.
The powers delegated to the Attorney in Fact are completely within the control of the Principal. The Principal may elect to make the powers “durable,” meaning the Attorney in Fact’s authority continues if the Principal becomes incompetent.
A power of attorney is voluntary, and can be canceled at any time by the grantor. When and if an individual wishes to revoke the power of attorney, the revocation must be recorded to protect both individuals involved.
An individual must be competent in order to sign a power of attorney. This is an advance planning device that may be used to avoid guardianship.