What makes a durable power of attorney different from other powers of attorney?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2021 | Estate Planning

Not all legal documents have the same purposes. Even documents that may seem the same on the surface are slightly different. An advance medical directive, for example, is different from a medical power of attorney. Both might relate to the medical care you’d receive during a period of incapacitation, but they each approach the issue differently.

Even within the realm of power of attorney documents specifically, there can be substantial variations in what they do and what restrictions apply to them. Even if you already have a power of attorney document to allow someone to perform financial functions or make medical decisions on your behalf, you may also want to consider creating a durable power of attorney.

As the name implies, a durable power of attorney persists when another would lose authority

Power of attorney documents give someone short-term legal authority to take actions on behalf of another person. Usually, people use them when someone experiences incapacitation, such as an unexpected illness or an injury. The documents lose their authority when someone either recovers their ability to act on their own behalf or dies.

Additionally, if the Minnesota courts declare someone incompetent, a power of attorney document loses its authority then as well. Essentially, when someone no longer has testamentary capacity, even the power of attorney documents they previously created no longer hold weight in court.

A durable power of attorney persists even after a declaration of incompetence or permanent incapacitation. It effectively allows you to name your own guardian, which can be an invaluable protection for you if you experience medical hardship.