The granting of a general power of attorney is a very broad delegation of decision-making abilities recognized under the law. In Kentucky, powers of attorney must comply with specific state statutes. These important legal documents can be used in a range of situations, including end-of-life health care decisions.
In Kentucky, powers of attorney exists between the person granting the power, called the principle and the person receiving the power, known as either the agent or the attorney-in-fact.
Powers of attorney (POA) are typically divided into two categories: limited and general. Limited powers of attorney can be as finely focused as the principle desires, stating in detail what powers are granted to the agent. At the other end of the spectrum, is the general power of attorney. Such POA convey the broadest possible powers to the agent, allowing him or her to do anything in the principle's place that would be allowed by law.
To grant general power of attorney, several requirements must be met. First, the principle (sometimes called the grantor) must be of sound mind and be able to make his or her own decisions. Any POA granted must be done so in writing and signed by the principle.
In general, powers of attorney terminate when one of two things happens. First, the principle can revoke the power of attorney at any time. Second, the power of attorney terminates immediately upon the principle becoming incapacitated. However, if a power of attorney is made "durable", the powers continue even if the principle is no longer able to make decisions. Nevertheless, durable general powers of attorney can still be revoked at any time by the principle prior to his or her incapacitation or death.
Kentucky law makes additional requirements on durable powers of attorney used for the purposes of healthcare decisions. Such powers of attorney must be granted and assigned in the presence of two adult witnesses or notarized by a public notary. These additional requirements must be met for any durable power of attorney for healthcare, including a general durable power of attorney.