The Definition of a Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a written document executed by a competent adult authorizing another person or a corporation to act on her behalf. The document is durable because it survives the principal’s future legal incapacity.
Third parties accepting the document may rely that the decisions of the agent will be legally binding on the principal.
In some states, all powers of attorney are durable unless they contain a specified end date. In others, the document must state that the power survives the principal’s legal incapacity to be durable.
The party creating the power is the principal, and the party receiving the power is the agent.
An agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for property may use the document to manage the principal’s financial accounts, businesses and real estate or file taxes.
Health Care Function
A Durable Power of Attorney for health care authorizes the agent to make decisions for the principal regarding medical treatment, life-sustaining measures, hospitalization and organ donation.
Specific legal requirements depend on the state of the principal’s residence or property location. Generally, a durable power of attorney must be in writing, dated, signed by the principal, witnessed and acknowledged by a notary public.
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