Durable Versus Nondurable Power of Attorney


Durable Versus Nondurable Power of AttorneyA durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows an agent to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. Many people believe that a living will or do not resuscitate order is enough to express their wishes. That is not exactly accurate. While these documents are important and should remain in place, they do not consider your wishes if you are in a coma or unable to mentally function. A do not resuscitate order is only in effect if you are actively dying. People who are not dying, but are unable to assist in their own care can remain in that state for years. Families faced with this horrific issue may experience disagreements. Your parents may believe they know what is best for you, but your spouse disagrees. This can drag out in court, and there are no winners.

By assigning a durable power of attorney while you are well, you are giving someone the power to act for you from the moment you are unable to take care of yourself. However, until that time they have no power to make choices for you in any way.

You can revoke the power of attorney through a simple process. However, it is wise to designate a new durable power of attorney upon revocation of the first, to ensure your security and peace of mind.

Non-durable Power of Attorney

Durable Versus Nondurable Power of Attorney

A nondurable power of attorney is also called a general power of attorney. This legal document gives an agent power to act on your behalf in specific areas. This type of power of attorney is often used to allow someone to seek medical care for your child if you are away, or to oversee a trust fund or manage properties. People who are unavailable or away for extended periods of time may file a power of attorney to allow an agent act in their absence.

The power of attorney gives specific details regarding what the power of attorney allows for. It is important to check the laws in your state regarding a durable or nondurable power of attorney. In some states, like Pennsylvania, the law requires you to specifically state the power of attorney is not to become a durable power of attorney in the event of you becoming incapacitated. If it is not specified, it is assumed you want it to transfer to a durable power of attorney. An attorney can answer any questions regarding a power of attorney or you can contact your county clerk office for instructions. Forms and information are available online as well.

You can revoke a nondurable power of attorney at any time, with or without cause. When you file a power of attorney or revoke one, notify all the people in your life that need to know about your decision. Remember, this is your right and your choice, and no one can force you to grant them power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is an important part of any adult’s estate.

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