Durable Power Of Attorney Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Durable Power Of Attorney, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Durable Power Of Attorney?

A legal document that transfers the right to act on your behalf to another person. Used when someone has become incapacitated or incompetent. Refer to the definition for living will.

History and Meaning of Durable Power Of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual (the principal) to give another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on their behalf in legal, medical, and financial matters. The term "durable" indicates that the document remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally incompetent.

These legal instruments have been used for centuries, but their use became more widespread in the United States during the 20th century. The Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act was first published in 1979 and has been adopted in whole or in part by many states. This act sets forth specific requirements for creating a valid durable power of attorney and outlines the duties and responsibilities of both the principal and the agent.

In recent years, there has been a trend toward more detailed and specific durable power of attorney documents that address a broad range of potential issues and circumstances, such as long-term care planning and digital asset management.

Examples of Durable Power Of Attorney

  • A senior citizen may create a durable power of attorney designating their adult child to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.
  • A business owner may execute a durable power of attorney in favor of a trusted employee to manage the company's finances and contracts if the owner becomes unable to do so.
  • An individual planning for end-of-life care may create a durable power of attorney for healthcare, which allows a designated agent to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event they are unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves.

Legal Terms Similar to Durable Power Of Attorney

  • General power of attorney: This document grants broad authority to an agent, but it becomes invalid if the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally incompetent.
  • Springing power of attorney: This type of document only becomes valid if and when the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally incompetent.
  • Trustee: A person or entity appointed to manage property or assets on behalf of a beneficiary or owner.