What is a Power of Attorney?
10/06/2021 - Attorney Jonathan Moss - Nevada Trust and Estate Attorneys
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that gives someone legal authority to act on your behalf. Powers of Attorney are used when you are alive but incapable of making decisions due to incapacity or illness. The POA lists what specific powers you want the authorized person to have, and can cover your financial, legal, and medical decisions.
What are the different types of Power of Attorney documents?
There are different types of POAs that cover what decisions the authorized person is allowed to make. Each state is different. In general, most states have two separate POA documents: (1) Power of Attorney for financial decisions, called an “attorney-in-fact;” and (2) a Power of Attorney for making medical decisions, or sometimes called an “advanced directive.”
In California, these two documents are called a POA and a Healthcare POA. In Florida, the documents are a POA and a Designation of Health Care Surrogate. In Nevada, the two documents are usually called a Statutory Power of Attorney, for financial decisions, and a Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions.
POAs can go into effect at different times. A “durable” power of attorney becomes effective immediately and lasts until the POA is revoked. A POA can spring into effect, called a “springing power,” based on certain conditions. A common springing power condition is when someone is incapacitated according to a medical doctor’s opinion. You can also define a specific date or period of time the POA goes into effect.
In addition, many states have general or limited POAs. A general POA covers a wide range of authorizations and lasts until the POA is revoked. A limited POA is for a specific purpose and ends once the purpose is resolved. A common limited POA is to grant someone authority to sell your home. Many attorneys have their clients sign POAs to allow the attorney to request medical and police records.
What type of authorized decisions does a POA allow?
The answer is up to you. You get to outline the specific powers authorized and decisions authorized by your POA. Plus, you can include instructions for how your agent should make decisions. With attorney-in-fact POA the person who creates the POA outlines the financial and legal actions they want their agent to make.
Commonly, the POA for financial decisions allows an agent to pay bills, deposit checks, pay taxes, manage investment accounts, personal and family maintenance, apply for benefits and handle legal claims. The advanced directive, or POA for medical decisions, usually authorizes the agent to make all medical decisions on the persons behalf. In addition, a POA for medical decisions usually include instructions on whether the incapacitated individual wants to remain on life support, receive pain reliving medication, or use artificial nutrition. The POA for medical decisions can give specific instructions on what the agent should do if a person is in a coma or has a terminal illness. POA for medical decisions, or advanced directives, also gives instructions to physicians to follow your wishes related to palliative or hospice care.
How do I create a Power of Attorney in Nevada?
You can either draft a power of attorney on your own or contact an attorney to help you create your POA. POA documents need to contain specific language and be signed in front of a notary public or other individual authorized by law0 to take acknowledgements. If the person is in a hospital, residential facility, or a skilled nursing home, then a physician or advanced registered nurse may need to attach a certificate of competency to the POA.
Nevada also enacted the Power of Attorney Uniform Act in 2009 to join other states and standardize the POA forms. The statutes, commonly called laws, can be found here.
The Nevada legislature also outlined specific language for drafting the POA. NRS 162A.620 lists the language for creating your Statutory Form Power of Attorney. You can find the language here.
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions Form is outlined in NRS 162A.860 and can be found here.
Once you create, sign and get notarized your POA of attorney documents, you can give a copy to your agent. Make sure to keep a copy in a secure location where your agent will be able to find it. In addition, you can register your Durable POA for Health Care Decisions with Nevada Lockbox.
Nevada Lockbox is an electronic registry that is securely maintained on the Nevada Secretary of State Website. The registry is used by health care providers to find out your wishes for your health care, and who you have designated as your person authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf.
To register your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions, please follow these instructions to fill out the form and mail in your registration form along with your POA to The Nevada Lockbox. It is free to register! That way if you end up in the emergency room, the doctor can immediately pull up your medical instructions and know who to call.
For additional information about Nevada Powers of Attorney, click here.
A POA is important because it lets you choose who will make decisions on your behalf. The POA documents let you explain how and what decisions you want your agent to make when you are incapacitated or ill. Don’t wait on getting your POA documents created. You don’t want to leave your friends and family in a position where they don’t have the authority to make decisions, or don’t know what your wishes are for your treatment. Call, text or email Nevada Trust and Estate Attorneys, and we can help you with any questions you may have about your Power of Attorney documents.