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What is a Delaware Power of Attorney?

The power of attorney form is a document that officially grants an individual power over another’s finances, health care, business, and other affairs should they become unable to do so on their own. A power of attorney generally deals with the grantor allowing their agent to make financial decisions, financial gifts, grant guardianship, or make healthcare decisions on their behalf, and can also extend to parental responsibilities, and business affairs.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission: the principal, donor, or grantor

The person receiving authorization: the agent, or attorney-in-fact

State Specific:

A Delaware power of attorney is a power of attorney form that is in accordance with Delaware’s laws concerning the document. Though it is not a document that needs to be turned into the court or other legal entity, for it to be legally recognized it must conform to the Durable Personal Powers of Attorney Act (Title 12, Chapter 49), which states that:

  • The attorney-in-fact must be a legal adult.
  • The power of attorney must be signed by both the grantor and the agent, along with two or additional witnesses.
  • The attending physician first judges if the grantor is incapable of making a medical decision on their own before the attorney-in-fact may make such decisions on his or her behalf.
  • The attorney-in-fact has the power to grant, refuse, or withdraw consent to medical treatment. This includes the right to refuse medical treatments that can extend the grantor’s life.
  • The agent will keep his or her funds separate from the grantor.
  • The court may revoke the power of attorney privilege if they find that it is not being handled properly.

Why Would You Use a Delaware Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why an individual would use a Delaware power of attorney. Sometimes a person who is elderly, mentally ill, or of failing health may need someone to handle their affairs. Elderly individuals who may suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and may no longer be able to handle affairs such as paying bills, or buying or selling property.

A power of attorney form is not only for the sick, or elderly. Power of attorney forms are recommended for the perfectly healthy as well. There are multiple reasons why one would want their agent to handle their affairs, and one of those is business. If the grantor owns a business, then it is important that the agent have the power to run, and execute important tasks that involve the company, such as paying employees or vendors. However, as with all power of attorney forms, it is imperative that you clearly state which powers your agent does and does not have. If you do not want your agent to have the power to fire or hire employees, then you must clearly state this in your document.

No one knows what will happen tomorrow, and it is always best to be well prepared in the event of an accident. No matter the situation, one individual’s power of attorney needs will vary from the next. Accordingly, there are many types of power of attorney. Here are some of the most common:

General

A general power of attorney grants a single individual to handle all financial matters on behalf of the grantor. The attorney-in-fact is given responsibility, and legal right to handle affairs on the grantors behalf. However this authorization would become null and void should the principal become incapacitated or were to pass away.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney. The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues if the grantor were to become disabled or incapacitated.

Guardian of Minor Attorney

This type of power of attorney allows a parent to grant decision-making rights over their child to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent may not be present during a medical emergency. This form is generally used if the parent must leave the country for a period of time.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney has limited power to whatever the grantor specifies. In many cases, an agent will have power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have authority to do other things such as sell property (depending on what the grantor decides). Just like a special power of attorney, the authority diminishes if the grantor dies.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also known as an advanced healthcare directive, grants power to the agent to make medical or health decisions on the grantor’s behalf when he or she cannot make healthcare decisions on his or her own. This is commonly used by individuals who are terminally ill, elderly, or for those who may work a high-risk job such as a commercial fisherman, or a logger.

Power of Attorney Revocation

This form revokes the grantor-agent relationship. All third parties that rely on the power of attorney form, such as banks and doctors, must be notified of the revocation.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

This power of attorney form allows the agent, perhaps someone other than the general, or durable attorney-in-fact, to purchase, sell or maintain real estate on the grantors behalf.

Tax Power of Attorney

In Delaware, the tax power of attorney form is known as Form 2848. This form allows a grantor to elect someone to represent them with the state tax authorities.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

This very simple form, known as form MV386, allows the grantor to appoint someone to represent them with the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles. This includes buying, selling, and transferring of vehicles.

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