Power of Attorney Lawyer, Massachusetts

A power of attorney (POA) is a written document in which you (the “principal”) authorize a trusted individual whom you select (your “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) to act on your behalf. There are several types of POA:

Limited Power of Attorney

This gives someone the authority to act on your behalf in specific situations or for limited time periods.

General Power of Attorney

This grants someone the authority to conduct all affairs on your behalf.

Talk to an attorney at Angel Burke Law today about adding power of attorney to your estate plans. (508) 377-4562

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document by which you designate another person, an agent, in writing, to be your “attorney in fact.” This authorization remains effective even if you should become disabled or incapacitated. If the POA is not durable, it will automatically be revoked when you become disabled—and if you become disabled or incapacitated, that is just when you need another trusting person to act on your behalf.

A durable power of attorney can be specific or general.
In a specific durable POA, the agent is authorized to act only in certain capacities, which the POA document must describe in detail. You can also specify which assets a power of attorney can control.
A general durable POA grants broader powers to the agent, allowing him or her to act in a variety of matters, from financial decisions to health care.
A durable power of attorney can take effect immediately on signing by the principal or at a later time or upon a condition occurring, like, for example, if and when the principal suffers an incapacitating illness or injury (Known as a springing durable POA).

A durable power of attorney should be signed in the presence of a Notary Public and must contain the phrase “This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal, or lapse of time,” or similar language indicating that in the event of disability, the authority granted in the document remains valid.

A durable power of attorney may contain an expiration date, beyond which it lapses and is ineffective. If there is no date, it lasts until you die. The document may also be revoked as long as you, the principal, are not incapacitated. If you are incapacitated and have a legal guardian, the legal guardian would have the power to revoke the document.
If you do not have a valid, durable power of attorney in place and you become incapacitated, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will have legal authority over your affairs. If unchecked, the court will appoint a guardian to make decisions, sign documents and handle your health, business and family decisions, and take charge of your property and assets.

This stranger will create additional expense and legal complications for you and your family, as well as uncertainty over the outcome of any probate matters.

Instead, choose someone you trust to be your durable power of attorney.

Talk to an attorney at Angel Burke Law today about adding this document to your estate plans. (508) 377-4562

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is a document by which you designate another person, an agent, in writing, to be your “attorney in fact” for specifically medical and health care decisions for you.

Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy is a legal document that allows you to name a person (called a health care agent) to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are not able to do so for yourself. This document takes effect only if your physician has determined in writing that you lack the capacity to make or communicate health care decisions.

Any competent adult (18 or older) may serve as a health care agent, except the operator, administrator, or employee of a facility where you are a patient at the time you complete the health care proxy form — UNLESS that person is related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption.

Acting with your authority, your Agent can make any health care decision that you could, if you were able, and has the legal right to get any information, including confidential medical information, necessary to make informed decisions for you.

As an exception to the other states, Massachusetts recognize only the Health Care Proxy (HCP) as the basis for health care decisions and not Living Wills. If a person has a Living Will from another state, a valid Health Care Proxy must also be in place to be effective in Massachusetts.

All adults, certainly both you and the elders in your care, should have a health care proxy to deal with the possibility of an accident or illness that would make it impossible to communicate choices concerning treatment.

Once a health care proxy is completed and an agent identified, the next step should be to discuss the elder’s health care wishes so that the agent will know how to frame decisions on her/his behalf.

Do Not Resuscitate

If you do not want to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a valid Comfort Care-Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order should be prepared and made part of your medical record. It is also ESSENTIAL to keep a DNR Order Verification form with the person at all times. This form verifies that there is valid DNR order in your medical record and allows medical personnel, such as EMTs and paramedics, to provide care and transport in the community without defibrillation and intubation. This form is available with your attorney or your doctor’s office, hospitals and nursing homes. After it is drafted, it must be signed by a doctor/nurse practitioner or physician assistant and by the individual or health care agent or representative.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is a document by which you designate another person, an agent, in writing, to be your “attorney in fact” for specifically money and financial decisions for you. You typically write this to specifically let someone else act as your legal representative for financial matters.
You specify the powers by which this power of attorney (your agent) has. It normally allows agent to pay the your bills, access your accounts, pay your taxes, buy and sell investments or even real estate.

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