A power of attorney provides legal permission for another adult to act on your behalf. The permission can be granted for a specific, limited purpose and period of time or for much broader purposes, such as handling all of your financial affairs, and an unlimited time period, such as until your death.
The party executing the power of attorney is known as the principal. The party receiving authority on behalf of the principal is known as the agent. The principal directs the agent through the selection of certain powers and authority within the powers of attorney. The agent must not exceed the delegated authority provided by the principal.
Since 2009, Nevada has provided statutory forms, meaning enacted in the Nevada statutes, powers of attorney for both financial and health care purposes. The statutory form powers of attorney are most readily recognized by both health care providers and financial institutions alike. Our law firm strongly endorses the use of the statutory form powers of attorney.
Effective October 1, 2019, the state statutory form powers of attorney were revised with additional clarifying provisions included. The updated financial power of attorney offers new powers to the agent with regard to placement of the principal in care facilities. Specifically, the agent may be granted authority to place the principal in assisted living, skilled nursing or residential long-term care facilities.
The financial power of attorney also clarifies that the authority of the principal overrides any contrary instruction provided by an agent. So, the principal, still retains the ability to direct his affairs provided he made those instructions prior to implementation of the power of attorney.
The durable power of attorney for health care decisions was revised to clarify whether the principal would desire pain-relieving mediation even if such relief could cause addiction or reduce the extension of life. It is surmised that this statement was added due to the nationwide opioid crisis and concerns over prescription drug addition.
Both the financial and health care powers of attorney added a statement declaring the principal’s desire to remain in his or her home. The statutory forms allow the principal two choices. The first choice allows the principal to stay in his or her home as long as the principal’s medical needs can be met. Or, with the second choice, the principal can stay in the home without regard to the principal’s medical needs. We are counseling our clients to be very careful about selecting the second option with regard to staying in their home irrespective of their medical needs. We fear that there will be ugly situations where a principal is insistent on staying in their home which could lead to unhealthy conditions thereby causing greater illness or even accelerating their death.
The prior and new options contained in the powers of attorney must be carefully considered. The principal may grant significant rights to a third-party. We strongly recommend consulting with a trusted, professional advisor prior to executing powers of attorney.