Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

What is it?

DPOA allows you to choose someone else to make certain decisions for you and it keeps working even if you cannot make decisions for yourself anymore.

You can write it so it ONLY works if you cannot make decisions for yourself anymore. A regular Power of Attorney stops working if you cannot make decisions anymore.

To set up a Durable Power of Attorney, you need to be able to understand the benefits, risks, and choices and make a decision and share your decision; lawyers call this capacity. DPOAs are revocable, meaning you can cancel them as long as you have the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

Like regular Powers of Attorney, you can use a DPOA for things like healthcare decisions, financial decisions, or even things like education decision-making after a student turns 18.

What does TN Law say?

Durable Power of Attorney is defined in Tennessee law Title 34 Chapter 6 Section 102 (TCA 34-6-102): “A durable power of attorney is a power of attorney by which a principal designates another as the principal’s attorney in fact in writing and the writing contains the words, ‘This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal,’ or ‘This power of attorney shall become effective upon the disability or incapacity of the principal,’ or similar words showing the intent of the principal that the authority conferred shall be exercisable, notwithstanding the principal’s subsequent disability or incapacity.” You can look it up here:

How do I learn more?

Completing a Durable Power of Attorney in Tennessee does not require a legal service, however the DPOA is a difficult document that requires a high level of understanding to complete correctly. Disability Rights TN strongly recommends talking with a lawyer to help with completing these documents. If you would like more information or want to talk to a lawyer contact Disability Rights Tennessee call 1(800) 342-1660.​

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