Powers of Attorney and Living Wills in Idaho: 4 Important Things to Know

Did you know that in Idaho powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions are different and you need both a financial power of attorney and a living will if you want someone else to have the authority to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf?

What is a Financial Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal document where you (the principal) grant authority to someone you trust (your agent) to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.

Without durable financial powers of attorney, Idaho law might necessitate the court appoint someone to handle your finances if you become incapacitated, a potentially complex and costly process.

What is a Living Will?

In Idaho, a living will is a document that combines both your medical power of attorney and your advance directives. A Medical Power of Attorney appoints a trusted agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf based on your specified preferences while Advance Directives clearly outline your preferences for medical treatments and end-of-life care.

A Living Will ensures your medical preferences are followed. It clarifies your desires for medical treatments, end-of-life care, and appoints a trusted individual to act as your healthcare proxy.

Why are some Powers of Attorney identified as “Durable?”

When applied to a power of attorney, durable means that they remain in effect even if you are incapacitated. Incapacitated means unable to make decisions (or communicate those decisions) on your own. This could be a result of accident, injury, or illness. For financial powers of attorney, incapacitated also means missing, detained, incarcerated, or outside the United States and unable to return.

Durable DOES NOT mean that it stays in effect after you have died. It is important to know that the authority of all powers of attorney end when you die. This means you need an estate plan (including either a will or a trust) if you want someone to have the authority to handle your assets after you die.

Can I revoke a Power of Attorney?

It is possible to revoke any power of attorney, including a durable power of attorney, unless you (the principal) are incapacitated at the time.

Creating Powers of Attorney

  1. Identify people you trust to be your agents. Many people identify their spouse first, and then pick 1 or 2 more trusted individuals who can act as the agent if the person before them on the list is unable. Agents must be over the age of 18 and not have been determined to be incapacitated themselves. It is common to select agents who are also included as the trustees and/or agents in your estate plan.
  2. Make sure to understand the choices you are making. Each type of power of attorney gives a range of options of the authority you want to give to your agent. If you do not understand the options, be sure to ask an attorney for clarification.
  3. Make sure you sign your powers of attorney. Your financial power of attorney requires a notary’s signature if you want your agent to deal with real property. (Real property includes land and buildings.)

Next Steps

Understanding the distinctions between a financial power of attorney and the Living Will, which combines advance directives and medical power of attorney in Idaho, is important for ensuring your wishes are honored regarding financial matters and healthcare decisions.

By having these documents in place, you not only secure your preferences but also alleviate potential burdens for your loved ones during challenging times. Taking proactive steps to legally designate trusted individuals ensures that your interests are protected when you cannot advocate for yourself.

If you would like to learn more about Powers of Attorney, you can take a look at our Powers of Attorney page or read through the Idaho Uniform Power of Attorney Act.