What is a Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal tool that grant others the ability to speak for an incapacitated or incarcerated persons and act on their behalf in legal matters. The power of attorney is used when someone is unable to take care of their own legal matters for various reasons. A contract can be written to specify what the appointed person could do with their legal authority. If that contract is breached, a power of attorney could be sued or even go to prison.

The power of attorney can be used to help take care of someone who is sick and cannot exercise their own legal decisions. The appointed power of attorney has authority over the patient’s medical decisions. This includes the choice of what kind of doctors, medicines, and specialists can be accessed and utilized for the patient’s care. One of the biggest decisions they can make is whether or not to continue treatments or life support.

Durable financial power of attorney allows someone to be appointed to manage a person’s finances in case they are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. They can use their authority to help pay for taxes and bills, manage real estate, and other such necessities involving financial matters. They can also operate a person’s businesses and hire legal representation when necessary.

Guardianships are similar to the power of attorney but there are several key differences. Unless someone already has power of attorney set up, then the courts will appoint someone to be a guardian. Because of this, the courts will be overlooking the guardian’s activities and the ward’s status. It is recommended that a power of attorney be consulted to see if a court-appointed guardian is the right solution.

A Solution to a Problem

Both a guardianship and the power of attorney can help ensure that a person’s needs are taken care of, whether a minor child or an incapacitated adult. When there is an unexpected situation that suddenly arises where someone needs assistance from others, these two legal tools can help a person get their needs fulfilled by an assigned responsible adult. They do have their differences, but their purpose is to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.