What is Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document where an individual (the Principal) authorizes another person (the Power Holder or Attorney-in-fact) to handle all the matters described in the document. Often this will include handling residential care and financial matters for the Principal. A Durable Power of Attorney may be effective upon the day it is signed or may become effective only after it is certified that the Principal has become incapacitated. Unlike an ordinary power of attorney, as durable power of attorney is not invalidated by the Principal’s later incapacity. A power of attorney should be prepared by an attorney and the signature of the Principal must be authenticated (that is, notarized).

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Health Care Power of Attorney is very similar to a Durable Power of Attorney except that it is to authorize the Power Holder or Attorney-in-fact to make medical decisions for the Principal. A Heath Care Power of Attorney may also designate the Principal’s wishes regarding the use of life-prolonging medical procedures. A Health Care Power of Attorney is typically only effective upon the Principal’s incapacity.