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Does a Power of Attorney Expire?

Still Life Of Power Of Attorney Document On Desk

As we age, planning our end of life care becomes more critical. Advanced planning can help protect assets and reduce the burden on family members when it comes time for end-of-life care. Part of this planning may include the possibility of being incapacitated and requiring someone else to make crucial decisions regarding your health or assets. There are, of course, options for this kind of thing. One way to manage this includes designating power of attorney. There are several kinds of power of attorney that can be granted depending on need and when the Principal would like the authorization to end or expire.

A power of attorney designation can be beneficial because it allocates decision making authority or power to another individual. The person granted this power, or attorney-in-fact, can perform actions like paying bills, executing documents, making medical decisions, or managing property, depending on the scope of authority given. There are several power of attorney designations, including a general power of attorney and a durable power of attorney.

Generally, a power of attorney is an essential legal document that appoints an agent or attorney-in-fact. The Principal still retains the right to make decisions on their own. A power of attorney can often be limited in scope to making either financial or health care decisions on the individual’s behalf. Depending on which type of power of attorney is chosen determines when it expires.

What if the Principal is Not Incapacitated?

For instance, a general power of attorney can be a good choice in situations where the Principal is not incapacitated but needs help making financial decisions and looking over their assets. Under a general power of attorney, a Principal may designate a combo of powers over medical and financial decisions. However, this designation expires upon the death or incapacitation of the Principal. A general power of attorney can be revoked in writing by the Principal.

What if the Principal is Incapacitated?

Conversely, a durable power of attorney is maintained even if the Principal is incapacitated, which means the durable power of attorney continues to make decisions after the Principal can no longer do so. A durable power of attorney remains in effect until the Principal dies. The purpose of a durable power of attorney is to plan for medical emergencies, cognitive decline later in life, or other situations where you are no longer capable of making decisions. If a durable power of attorney is not designated, the state determines who looks after a person’s estate when they become incapacitated. It can be difficult to revoke a durable power of attorney, as the Principal has to prove that they are capable of taking care of themselves and of sound mind. With a medical power of attorney, the agent only makes medical decisions for the Principal, and the designation ends upon the death of the Principal.

Hire an Elder Law Lawyer

It is crucial to think through the process and choose the right attorney-in-fact for the need. This should be a person who can be trusted implicitly to carry out the Principal’s wishes. An experienced elder law attorney at The Mattar Firm can help make the right decisions for the Principal and their family. After all, nothing is more important. Contact us today at 239-222-2222.


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