Larmore Scarlett, LLP
Find Solutions To Your Legal Problems 610-444-3737

Durable, limited, whatever: Power of attorney is a flexible tool

Pennsylvania law stipulates that a power of attorney is presumed to be a durable power of attorney. As we explained in our Sept. 8, 2014, post, the authority conveyed with a power of attorney differs significantly from the authority conveyed with a durable power of attorney. The question is not really about what the agent (the person accepting the responsibility) can do. Rather, it is about how long the agent's authority lasts.

Generally, a power of attorney remains in effect up to the point that the principal (the person granting the authority) dies or becomes incapacitated. Under a durable power of attorney, the agent retains the authority during the principal's incapacity and even after the principal's death.

This is one reason estate planning attorneys recommend that their clients include a durable power of attorney with an advance health care directive. The health care directive gives the agent the authority to make decisions about the principal's medical care and generally includes specific instructions about extraordinary measures and continuing life support. 

The durable power of attorney can go a little further, allowing the agent to make financial decisions on behalf of the principal while the principal is unable to do so.

For example, after the principal dies, the agent may continue to handle the principal's affairs until the principal's personal representative takes over. Also, with a durable power of attorney the agent may be able to sell the principal's home to pay for ongoing care. The agent may be able to write checks or authorize bank transfers to pay bills that have nothing to do with medical care. A power of attorney is a, well, powerful document.

The presumption that a power of attorney is durable does not mean that every power of attorney has to be. We'll go into this in more detail in our next post.

Source: National Caregivers Library, "What is a power of attorney?" accessed online Sept. 12, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Providing strong legal representation to residents and businesses throughout southeast Pennsylvania for more than 70 years.

Contact Our Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Firm Location:

123 E. Linden Street
P.O. Box 384
Kennett Square, PA 19348

Phone: 610-444-3737
Fax: 610-444-9532
Kennett Square Law Office Map

Larmore Scarlett, LLP

Firm Numbers: