Power of Attorney
Arizona Statewide Paralegal prepares several different power of attorney documents depending on the needs of our clients. Power of attorney laws vary by state. In Arizona, the Arizona Revised Statutes address power of attorney multiple times, including durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, mental health care power of attorney, and special power of attorney.
Power of attorney is given to a person who then has the legal authority to make decisions for another person. In order to grant someone power of attorney to act on your behalf you must be 18 years old and of sound mind. Of sound mind means that the person signing the power of attorney CAN NOT already be incapacitated. If the principal is already incapacitated the power to act on the incapacitated person’s behalf must be granted by a court of competent jurisdiction in either a Guardianship or Conservatorship action. AZ Statewide Paralegal prepares both guardianship and conservatorship documents as well.
Most often this person is incapacitated or for some reason unable to make decisions or carry out legal responsibilities for a period of time. The power of attorney can be general or specific. This means that the person granted the power of attorney can handle only one issue (such as the real estate power of attorney discussed below) or can make decisions about any personal or financial or health care issues.
The person granted the power of attorney is called the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent.” The person giving over the power of attorney is called the “principal.” The attorney-in-fact or agent is responsible for determining the scope of the decisions they should be making.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A Health Care Power of Attorney gives an agent, that you name, the authority to act on your behalf and to carry out your end of life wishes as stated in your Living Will when you become seriously ill and incapacitated. This kind of power of attorney, when prepared by us, will also state whether or not you consent to an autopsy and whether you want to be an organ donor.
All of our powers of attorney include the required HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release. The HIPAA release indicates that you give your permission for your agent to obtain your health information and medical records. In health care power of attorney you will appoint someone to make sure that the choices you make in your Living Will are honored and you authorize the agent to make any other health care choice on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
When creating your health care power of attorney, we ask you a number of questions. For example, we need to know if you have a living will, whether or not you have a Prehospital Medical Care Directive (DNR – do not rescusitate), whether or not you consent to an autopsy if one is not required, and whether or not you want your organs donated. Having answers to these questions prepared will help the process go more quickly. In addition to preparing your Health Care Power of Attorney, we can also prepare a Living Will so you have the entire health care package completed.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney gives an agent, that you name, the authority to conduct any financial transactions on your behalf if you become seriously ill or incapacitated. You appoint an agent and an alternate agent to handle all of your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. When determining your incapacity you may give your agents permission to obtain your health and medical records with this document.
By giving your agent power of attorney they are allowed to make any decisions that you would make. Because you are giving that person legal decision-making authority for your financial affairs if you become incapacitated, it is important that you choose someone that you trust and who understands what choices you would want made.
The durable power of attorney only goes into effect if you become disabled or incapacitated. As opposed to a general power of attorney, which starts and ends on a specific date (or ends upon the death of the principal), a durable power of attorney has no specified end date – it ends only upon the death of the principal or upon revocation.
Special (or Specific) Power of Attorney
The special power of attorney delegates limited authority to another person to act on your behalf. A common special power of attorney that we prepare at Arizona Statewide Paralegal is a Real Estate Specific Power of Attorney. This would be granted when you need someone to act on your behalf in selling real estate. For example, if you need to move out of state or out of the country, you can designate someone power of attorney to sell your home. This power of attorney stays in effect until the property is sold, you revoke it or the person who grants it dies.
Arizona law also specifically acknowledges the right for either a husband or wife to “authorize the other by power of attorney, executed and acknowledged in the manner conveyances of real property are executed and acknowledged, to execute, acknowledge and deliver, in his or her name and behalf, any conveyance, mortgage or other instrument affecting the separate or community property or any interest therein of the spouse executing the power of attorney.”
Parental Power of Attorney
The parental power of attorney allows a parent to give another person, who is trusted by the parent and who is willing, the power to act in place of a parent. This kind of power of attorney is often used when a parent becomes ill or hospitalized, will be out of state, or has to go on active duty. This form is also used if your child might be traveling with another adult. It gives that adult the right to make any decisions over your child’s care.
In order to use the parental power of attorney, you must be 18 year old, live in Arizona, be of sound mind. You use this power of attorney when you want to give another adult temporary authority over your child(ren) in a specific situation and the person to whom you want to give the authority is willing to accept temporary authority over your child(ren). This form is not used to give someone legal decision-making authority (also known as legal custody) of your child.
The parental power of attorney is good for 6 months. The only exception is for active duty military personnel who are given a one-year delegation of authority. The person who is given the parental power of attorney performs the general responsibilities of a parent. However, this person cannot authorize the marriage or adoption of the child. When setting up the parental power of attorney, you can also specify which parental duties the person is allowed to perform.
Even though the parental power of attorney lasts for 6 months, the parent can revoke it at any time before the 6 months is over. The parent can revoke the power of attorney in writing, or it is revoked if the specific tasks have been completed by the person granted power of attorney. There does not have to be a reason or cause for revoking the parental power of attorney.
When you choose Arizona Statewide Paralegal to prepare you power of attorney documents, we can often start the process on-line. Both the durable power of attorney and the health car power of attorney can be completed on-line. We prepare the documents professionally and quickly and you can choose which office to come into and sign the documents. The other power of attorneys can be quickly completed as well. Call or stop by our office to start the process today.