When can you get a power of attorney activated?

If you’re one of the attorneys named on someone’s power of attorney, you may be wondering when you can actually step in. This depends on the type of PoA it is.

If it’s a health and welfare power of attorney, the donor has to have lost capacity

A health and welfare power of attorney lets you make decisions about someone’s medical treatments and day-to-day care. It can only ever be used if they are no longer able to make these decisions.

You can also only use the power of attorney to make specific decisions they can’t make: you need to let them do the things they can still manage for as long as possible.

If it’s a property and financial power of attorney, read it carefully 

In some cases, you can use a financial power of attorney right away. The power of attorney will say if this is the case.

If the PoA doesn’t say that, then you can only use it if the person who made it has lost the mental capacity to act.