Understanding Powers Of Attorney In Arizona

In Arizona, some estate owners grant powers of attorney to designated people to help them manage their finances or make healthcare decisions when they become unable to do so. A power of attorney could be immediately effective, or it may only come into effect if the principal is found to be mentally incapacitated.

A healthcare power of attorney is often accompanied by a living will. The power of attorney, or POA, is used to designate an agent to make healthcare and life sustaining treatment decisions when the principal is unable to communicate or make informed decisions for themselves. The POA also allows the principal to document their wishes regarding organ donation and autopsy. A living will accompanies the POA to provide the agent with guidance when making decisions for the principal. In the living will, the principal defines what their acceptable quality of life is, such as living in an irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state, that provides their agent with information for how the agent is to make their decisions when acting under the POA.

A durable, or financial, power of attorney is used to designate an agent to manage a person's property, assets, and finances. Whether you own a business, have an interest in real property, or have multiple financial/bank accounts, your agent will be able to manage those assets if you become incapacitated under the authority that you grant in your Financial POA.

A power of attorney may be revoked as long as the principal, the person creating the POA, has capacity. This might occur when the principal no longer needs help or has grown to distrust the agent designated to act as the principal's attorney in fact.

You May Revoke Your Power Of Attorney Anytime You Are Competent

People who are competent — of sound mind — can revoke powers of attorney that they have granted to others at any time. To do this, they need to issue revocations in writing and make certain that the attorney in fact, or agent, is aware of the revocations. They should send copies by certified, return receipt email. They should also send emails and text messages to the attorneys in fact so that there is a clear record that they have been notified. Finally, people should give copies of the revocation to their doctors, banks and other financial institutions to provide notification. If the attorney in fact continues to try to act despite the revocation, the principal might want to talk to an experienced estate lawyer for help.

Let Us Help You With Your Vital Estate Planning Documents

Powers of attorney are important estate planning tools because they can allow people to designate others to handle their healthcare and financial affairs in the event that they become incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. However, an estate owner should be careful when they choose who will serve as their agent.

At McDonald Warner in Phoenix, our estate planning lawyers can help you with the process of creating or revoking your power of attorney and prevent future problems. For example, we can help you draft the document in such a way that it only becomes effective in the event of incapacitation that is certified by more than one doctor.

Call us today at 480-525-8551 to discuss your legal options in a free half-hour consultation. You may also contact us online.