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Powers of Attorney

How These Documents Can Protect Your Wishes

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that appoints someone to act on another person's behalf. The person granting the POA is referred to as the "principal" and the person who is appointed to act on behalf of the principal is referred to as the "agent." Typically a POA is "durable," which means that it remains in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. However, the POA can be revoked at any time by the principal, and is automatically revoked upon the death of the principal.

Our Denver estate planning lawyer can help draft your powers of attorney. Call our office to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation .

Medical Power of Attorney

A power of attorney for health care is a powerful estate planning document. It permits the agent to stand in the shoes of the principal in terms of making medical decisions. Unless restricted by the terms of the POA, the agent can hire and fire physicians, determine the course of medical treatment, make decisions regarding life support, and choose the hospital or care facility. In short, the agent can make any medical decisions that the principal could make if he or she was competent and capable.

A medical power of attorney should contain the following:

  • Any restrictions on the power granted to the agent
  • Instructions regarding life support and medical treatment
  • The name of the agent as well as the name of an "alternate agent" if the agent is unable or unwilling to serve

A durable medical POA is intended to eliminate the need of a court appointed guardian. It saves the time and expense of a court proceeding. However, the agent must be chosen carefully because he or she is not subject to court supervision or other “checks and balances.”

Financial Power of Attorney

The financial power of attorney grants the agent the power to make financial and business decisions on behalf of the principal. Unless restricted by the terms of the POA the agent can sell, manage, and dispose of real and personal property owned by the principal.

A financial power of attorney should contain the following:

  • Any restrictions on the power granted to the agent
  • Instructions regarding the management of the principal's financial and business affairs
  • The name of the agent as well as the name of an alternate agent

A financial POA is designed and intended to eliminate the need for the court appointment of a conservator if a principal becomes incapacitated.

Contact the Denver estate planning lawyer at the James A. Littlepage Law Offices today to discuss how preparing a power of attorney could benefit your situation.