The power of attorney document allows a person (called the principal) to name another individual (called an attorney-in-fact or agent), usually a trusted family member, domestic partner or friend, to... more
The power of attorney document allows a person (called the principal) to name another individual (called an attorney-in-fact or agent), usually a trusted family member, domestic partner or friend, to make financial and other decisions when the person with dementia is no longer able.
The agent should be chosen carefully; it is recommended that this individual have a thorough conversation with the principal about what the responsibility entails. In addition, a successor agent or agents should be named in the event the original agent is unavailable or unwilling to serve.
With regard to individuals with dementia, power of attorney documents should be written so that they are 'durable', meaning that they are valid even after the principal is incapacitated and can no longer make decisions. Power of attorney does not give the appointed person (agent) the authority to override the decision making of the person with dementia (principal). The person with dementia maintains the right to make his or her own decisions — as long as he or she has legal capacity — even if the decisions are not what others believe are good decisions. The agent is authorized to manage and make decisions about the income and the assets of the principal. This agent is responsible for acting according to the instructions, and in the best interests, of the principal.