What is Power of Attorney?

A legal document called a “power of attorney” gives an individual the legal authority to make decisions for an incapacitated person. This type of document is usually drawn up before the person is incapacitated. The laws for creating a power of attorney vary from state to state, but there are certain general guidelines to follow. A power of attorney document may be drawn up to give a trusted friend or relative the authority to deal with only one particular issue (a specific power of attorney), or to handle most of the incapacitated person’s personal and financial matters (a general power of attorney).

The individual with power of attorney may be responsible for making financial decisions, monetary gifts, heath care decisions (including the ability to consent to giving, withholding, or stopping medical treatments, services, or diagnostic procedures), and recommending a guardian for the incapacitated person.

Often times, individuals will engage the services of an attorney or lawyer to draft a Power of Attorney document.

For more information refer to Caregivers Library.

Note: This page is for general information purposes. We recommend you seek the advice of an attorney for legal matters. Additionally, before you or a loved one signs any documents, be sure to consult with an attorney concerning all applicable laws and regulations.