Some Delaware families, planning for the future possibility that a loved one may become too infirm to make financial and medical decisions, prepare a power of attorney (POA) to assume crucial decision-making powers for the loved one if needed. However, the kind of power POAs exercise makes some people wary. As a result, there are families who may choose not to go down this route even if it could prove beneficial.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to restrict the powers of a POA. Aging Care explains that you can set up the arrangement so that the POA’s abilities are limited in scope. Here are four ways you can define and limit what your POA can do.
You Define Powers of the POA
When you draft the power of attorney documents, you get to decide what powers and duties the POA is to have. You can assign broad-ranging powers or spell out restricted decision-making duties for the POA. For instance, some seniors are only impaired to a limited extent and can still make important decisions. They just require assistance when it comes to managing financial matters like Social Security benefits or bills. So only a limited POA is needed in this case.
You Define When a POA Takes Effect
Through a springing power of attorney agreement, you can name a person to be the POA but the person will not assume the position until a “springing” event takes place, typically when the principal is incapacitated. However, you must be cautious in defining what the springing event is. If the springing event is too ambiguous, there may be a legal dispute over whether the POA can assume the duties of the position.
You Can Limit the Tenure of the POA
In some cases, people may draft a non-durable POA. This is not a very common form of POA and is usually used to help a principal with business transactions if the principal is not available to sign legal or financial paperwork. Generally, a non-durable POA is not intended to assume wide-ranging powers over the principal’s health care decisions, and if the principal becomes incompetent, the POA arrangement often terminates.
You Can Designate Multiple POAs
If you are concerned about placing so much power in the hands of one person, dividing up the power is one way to go. The AARP points out that people can name multiple people to assume power of attorney, also known as co-agents. You can decide in the power of attorney document whether co-agents may act on their own or if they must agree on courses of action through a unanimous vote or a simple majority.