An individual can give a person power of attorney so the appointed person can manage the financial affairs if the individual becomes incapacitated, says Nolo. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows the appointed individual to sign checks, pay bills or sell a piece of property.
If a power of attorney is durable, it is in effect and valid even when the individual who granted power of attorney becomes unable to make decisions for himself, according to Nolo. If the power of attorney is not durable, the power ends when the individual becomes incapacitated.
There are two different types of durable power of attorney, states Nolo. A durable power of attorney for finances lets an individual name someone to manage his financial affairs if he becomes incapacitated, and a durable power of attorney for health and medical care allows an appointed individual to make medical decisions if the person granting power of attorney is no longer able to speak for himself.
If there is no power of attorney in place when someone becomes incapacitated, a spouse or relative needs to go to court to be granted the right to handle the affairs of the incapacitated individual, explains the Screen Actors Guild.