Powers of Attorney in Louisiana: What to Know
A proper estate plan requires more than just a last will & testament. To fully protect your interests, having a valid power of attorney document is necessary. If you need help designing an estate plan or a power of attorney document, don’t hesitate to contact Dowden & Smith. Our estate planning attorneys tailor your fiduciary documents to fit your unique needs and provide exceptional service to ensure your interests are protected.
What Does a Power of Attorney Mean in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, power of attorney is called a “contract of mandate.” These documents grant the designated person, known as the “agent” or “mandatary,” the ability to handle certain affairs for the principal under certain circumstances.
Power of attorney documents can allow a mandatary to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. But it is important to remember that in Louisiana, power of attorney documents do not automatically include certain powers. Because of Louisiana’s Equal Dignities doctrine, the right to enter contracts, such as selling or purchasing real estate, must be explicitly stated in the power of attorney document.
Failure to have the correct language in your estate plan could lead to headaches later down the road. Our compassionate and well-versed estate planning attorneys make sure the correct powers of attorney are put in place, and your estate is well looked after. Contact Dowden & Smith to get started today.
[Related: Difference Between Will & Estate Plan]
Louisiana Powers of Attorney Types
There are four main types of powers of attorney in Louisiana:
- Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney – allows the person you’ve appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf. This may include decisions like ordering tests, procedures, and care arrangements.
- Financial Power of Attorney – grants the mandatary the ability to control your finances. This may include giving access to bank accounts, paying bills, buying & selling property, and creating trusts.
- General Power of Attorney – permits a broad spectrum of powers to the appointed party. These powers may be a mix of financial and medical. When considering this option, it is imperative to remember Louisiana’s laws stating that certain powers must be written into the contract.
- Limited Power of Attorney – authorizes a specific power to the designated party, like selling a single piece of property or making a time-sensitive medical decision.
Each type of power of attorney can be adapted to fit your best interests. We often recommend our clients consider designating two separate parties for their medical and financial powers of attorney, so that you place the best people in charge of your affairs.
For example, you may have a child who is fantastic at managing finances while another is more equipped to make difficult healthcare decisions. In a case like this, having separate powers of attorney could be the best option for your situation.
When planning for your future, the ability to adapt powers of attorney to your specific situation is critical to protecting your interests and your family’s peace of mind. At Dowden & Smith, our estate planning attorneys specialize in individually tailoring Louisiana powers of attorney and fiduciary documents to your unique circumstances. Call our offices today at 337-238-2800 to schedule a free consultation and get started.
Can I Fill Out Powers of Attorney Forms I Found Online?
While numerous sites offer pre-drafted fiduciary documents, we do not recommend using them. Louisiana’s agency and mandate laws are unique and can be complex, making these generalized forms ineffective. Additionally, form requirements may change based on the authority granted. Unfortunately, in many cases, the invalidity of these documents isn’t realized until it’s too late.
The best way to protect yourself and your estate is to have a trusted and knowledgeable attorney to help guide you through the process, draft the documents, and make any necessary changes.
[Related: Estate Planning with Blended Families]
What Happens When You Don’t Have a Power of Attorney in Place?
If there are no valid powers of attorney once a person has become incapacitated, a proceeding called interdiction may be the only option. These proceedings can be extremely complex, long, and expensive. It is in your best interest to avoid interdiction with valid powers of attorney.
Because of the nature of these documents, by the time you need powers of attorney, it’s often too late to draft or authorize the document. You must plan for the future while you can to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property.
When you call Dowden & Smith for Louisiana powers of attorney services, you’ll receive honest and compassionate legal advice that gives you peace of mind. Our estate planning attorneys are here to help you and ensure your family’s future is protected. Contact our office today and start planning for your future.