A Power of Attorney is a document that allows another person to act on your behalf with respect to financial decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.
The reason may be your mental incapacity or your inability to be somewhere when needed. The person you appoint – your “attorney-in-fact” – must always act in your best interest and try to make choices you would make if you were able to do so. This document must be crafted carefully to allow for implementing effective Medicaid (also known as “MassHealth”) planning strategies.
Powers of Attorney can be limited in scope, such as for use for a single event (a real estate closing) or can be broad in scope to be used for any and all financial transactions. Most people think of Powers of Attorney being used for a person who is incapacitated. In order for a Power of Attorney to be able to be used for an incapacitated person, it must be a Durable Power of Attorney. “Durable” means it survives incapacity and can be used while the person is incapacitated.
Similar to a Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney can also be used when a person is not incapacitated. For this reason, it is important to select someone who is honest and who will not use the instrument when it is not appropriate to do so.