Powers of attorney for property and healthcare

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person, known as the principal, to designate some other person or entity, known as the agent, to handle the principal’s property or health care affairs. The power of attorney document can grant broad or limited authority to the agent, known as an “attorney in fact,” to act on behalf of the principal. A basic power of attorney grants an agent the power to do anything the principal could do. Thus, if a principal is incapacitated, the agent has no ability to deal on behalf of the principal. However, a power of attorney can be “durable,” meaning that it can survive the incapacity of a principal. A durable power of attorney allows for control of assets or health care decisions when a principal is unable to make decisions.