Almost everyone knows that a Power of Attorney grants someone the authority to act for the one who grants it. It can be general of specific. That authority can be for a definite time or for a certain amount of time. In the event the grantor loses his or her capacity while the Power is still active, the authority automatically ceases. That is a reasonable principle of law.
However, that could be a problem when the grantor still needs the services to be provided even though he/she has no control, themselves, over what takes place. If the grantor wants the one who is given the authority to act to continue to assist him/her in the assigned task, the grantor should grant what is known as a "Durable Power of Attorney/Health Care Surrogate". This affords the grantor the chance to have his attorney to continue to act for him, even until his/her death (unless he/she has capacity and it is withdrawn). This is extremely important and can prevent the need of having to go through the legal procedure of having a Guardian legally appointed. This involves getting an attorney to prepare a Petition to the Court and getting other attorneys and Physicians and State Departments, and of course, a Judge involved. That's all well and good if necessary, but it can be expensive and time consuming and stressful and contentious.
The Durable Power of Attorney/Health Care Surrogate gives the grantor to carefully select his/her representative, who is designated to take precise care of the business, and monetary and health care and, in fact, everything that may be needed. Selection for the one to assist in this manner must be very carefully made and alternates can be also appointed. The law now requires that particular grants within the document that grant extraordinary power need to be initialed beside the particular granting paragraph. This is just a reasonable precaution deemed important by our legislature for the protection of the grantor.
This is a tremendously important document for everyone to have and it should be reviewed and updated regularly. Please speak to your attorney about this much needed document.