Indiana law allows the use of power of attorneys. In general, a power of attorney allows you to grant authority to another individual to make decisions on your behalf. There are generally two types of power of attorneys: financial and medical. The use of a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney can help avoid the need for a guardianship in the event of your disability or incapacity.
A general or durable power of attorney grants another individual the authority to make decisions with respect to your financial transactions or business matters. A general power of attorney and durable power of attorneys are very similar. A durable power of attorney simply ensures that the power of attorney will remain in effect in the event of your incompetency or disability. A durable power of attorney can be effective immediately, or be effective only upon your disability or incapacity. Individuals who have difficulty managing their own affairs, but are not incompetent or disabled, may wish to execute a power of attorney for a family member or friend to help them manage their affairs and ensure their bills and expenses are paid in a timely manner. Otherwise, individuals normally direct that their power of attorney shall not become effective until their disability or incompetency.
A medical power of attorney grants another individual the authority to make your health care decisions upon your disability or incompetency. An individual may want to also execute a HIPAA release for their named power of attorney so that their power of attorney can access their medical information in the event the power of attorney must use the authority granted to them.
A power of attorney can grant very broad authority to the attorney in fact. Limited powers of attorney are also available, which limits the power of attorney’s authority to a specific purpose, such as the authority to execute a document on your behalf. This is commonly seen when an individual is selling property, managing real estate, collecting debt, or handling business transactions.
To be valid, a power of attorney must be in writing, name an attorney in fact, give the attorney in fact the power to act on behalf of the principal, and be signed by the principal in the presence of a notary public, or signed by another at the principal’s direction. A power of attorney may also direct whether their agent is able to receive compensation for their services. Attorneys in fact are entitled to reasonable fees for services rendered, unless the power of attorney limits that ability.
If you have questions about power of attorneys, please contact the attorneys at Slotegraaf Niehoff, P.C.