Using Powers of Attorney in Financial and Estate Planning

In addition to a Power of Attorney giving an agent authority to make health care decisions, a separate Power of Attorney should also give the agent authority to act on behalf of the person granting the power (principal) in business and financial matters in the event of the principal's disability.  These can be part of the same document, but the better practice is to keep the financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney separate.

A Louisiana Power of Attorney could become effective upon a disability certified by one or more physicians. An alternative is that the Power of Attorney could be effective immediately, but would survive a disability of the principal. A Power of Attorney that survives a disability is referred to as a "durable power of attorney".

A properly drafted power of attorney granting this authority to the agent allows the agent to make business and financial decisions and act on behalf of the principal. As indicated, if can continue to do so even after the principal has lost legal capacity due to a physical or mental disability. In the absence of implementing this planning, legal proceedings would have to be instituted (curatorship or interdiction proceedings) to have the principal declared incompetent and to name a guardian or curator to act on his or her behalf. These proceedings can be degrading and costly, yet are easily avoided with the proper planning.

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