Power of attorney is a misunderstood aspect of the law, as most people do not understand the full ramifications of the title.
In Seattle, the most common form of power of attorney is called a durable power of attorney.
This title comes with certain rights about your finances as well as your medical care. This means it’s important to fully understand what it means to give someone power of attorney.
What is a power of attorney?
When you grant someone power of attorney, you are giving permission to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. This generally happens when someone is no longer fit to make decisions.
The person who grants power of attorney is usually called the principal.
Does this mean the principal can no longer make decisions?
The person who grants power of attorney does not lose any of their rights. They can make financial and medical decisions as long as they are capable of doing so.
When does power of attorney take effect?
In Seattle, there are three different types of power of attorney:
- Non-Durable – takes effect upon signing but ends immediately if the principal loses physical or mental capacity.
- Durable – effective once signed and continues through any incapacity suffered by the principal.
- Springing – power of attorney is not granted until the principal loses their capacity.
It depends on what kind of power of attorney you want to grant.
Can a power of attorney be changed or revoked?
If for whatever reason you want to change your power of attorney to someone else, that is allowable. Power of attorney can be changed or altered at any time, as long as the person granting it is still mentally and physically sound.
How long does a granted power of attorney last?
The power of attorney lasts as long as the principal is alive and has not changed or revoked the status. As soon as the principal dies, the power of attorney ends. The person acting in that role must notify any banks, businesses or other entities of the death.
Power of attorney is a way for people to grant others permission to make decisions on their behalf. There are a lot of responsibilities to act in their best interest and not take advantage of these situations.
If you have any questions about appointing power of attorney or need more information, contact an attorney experienced in estate law.