Continual Power of Attorney
Updated: Jan 5, 2019
A new concept in Israel - and very important.
What is a Continual Power of Attorney?
A Continual Power of Attorney (“CPOA") is a powerful tool which enables family members to care for you once you can no longer care for yourself. A CPOA enables your family to continue functioning naturally, without involving the courts, and it enables you to preserve your personal autonomy, dignity and wishes.
In contrast to a regular POA, a COPA continues to be valid after the principal is no longer mentally competent.
The one who executes the CPOA (the principal) can authorize a trusted individual (the agent) to act on his/her behalf in :
1. Financial matters, such as banking and managing a business.
2. Medical matters, such as authorizing treatments and medications.
3. Personal matters, such as where to live and what kind of eldercare to receive.
The agent must act according to the principal’s instructions and the agent must consult with the principal if possible. Also, the principal can choose to have someone notified about the agent’s activity. This ensures that principal is still involved and preserves his/her autonomy.
What happens if there is no CPOA?
Other than a CPOA, the only way to enable someone to act on your behalf is to apply to the courts to be appointed as a custodian over you. Once you reach this stage, you will no longer be able to dictate who will be appointed, nor will you be able to give them instructions.
For good reason, the courts are becoming more and more hesitant to approve custodianship. The reasons for this are: (1) custodianship has often been used as a tool of exploitation and (2) it effectively eliminates the autonomy of the “incapacitated” because he/she does not have to be consulted before the custodian acts.
When does a CPOA come into effect?
As a default, a CPOA comes into effect once the principal loses his/her mental competence. However, you can decide under what circumstances it will come into effect. Also, for financial matters, you can choose to have it come into effect immediately (or within a defined period) so that your agent could act on your behalf right away.
Having a continual power of attorney is by far better than waiting for a custodian to be appointed, which can take unnecessary time when important decisions need to be made immediately. A CPOA enables you to predetermine who will care for you, under what circumstances and according to the specific instructions which you determine.
While a will determines how your estate will be divided once you pass away, a CPOA determines how you will be cared for at a later stage of life.
In order to draft a CPOA, a lawyer must receive special qualification to do so, and at this stage relatively few lawyers are qualified. It is important to be assisted by a lawyer who has experience in this area.
Adv. Michael Levine