Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you name a trusted person who will have the power to act for you, and make decisions for you, when you are not mentally or physically able to act for yourself. They call them durable because the document remains in effect even though you are incapacitated and unable to act on your own. Ordinary powers of attorney are not durable because they automatically end if the person who makes them loses the mental capacity to act.

There are usually two types of durable powers of attorney that allow someone to make decisions for you regarding either medical health care issues, or financial issues. It’s recommended that you have both of these documents in place. You can name the same person for both powers of attorney if you wish, but separate documents will keep privileged medical information away from people who only need to know financial details, and vice versa.