Durable Power of Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney


HCPOA or DPOA you need to understand the differences, to get the services you require.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) and Why do I Need One, is a question being asked more frequently. It is important to understand how it is different than a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Is it to be effective now or when I am incapacitated? What can you do to make sure it can it be enforced?


What will it do?

Identifies a designated person-an Agent -who may make decisions for you, the Principal, and handle your personal business on your behalf. It is a flexible document – as Principal, you may designate as many or few powers to your Agent as you wish. It gives you peace of mind knowing you and your personal affairs will be managed by someone you trust.

Why would I need it?

DOPA provides a seamless process for someone else to help you:

  • Help manage your finances and personal affairs if you become ill or incapacitated.
  • It can prevent the need for someone to seek Guardianship and Conservator-ship.
  • It allows you to make decisions about specific powers you want to grant and the persons to whom you grant them.

South Carolina just enacted a new General Durable Power of Attorney Statute (effective January 2017). The new law is more comprehensive and includes new requirements not previously included in the old statute.


What is it ?

Healthcare Power of Attorney is the document that gives the power to make healthcare decisions. Note not all healthcare providers honor a General Durable Power of Attorney with healthcare decisions. An HCPOA can be made effective immediately, before you are incapacitated.

What does it do ?

Healthcare Power of Attorney, designates someone to receive healthcare information about you and make specific healthcare decisions on your behalf. It does not grant any powers regarding financial decisions. It does allow you to make specific end-of life decisions becomes effective only effective after you are incapacitated.

How can it be applied ?

Durable Power of Attorney can be used as a Medicaid and Long-Term Care Planning Tool. It will help in qualifying for Medicaid using Spend-Down principal. DPOA allows your Agent to strategically make gifts to decrease your assets. This agent can include spend-down assets by paying “reasonable compensation” to the Agent. DPOA may retain Home Services, Home Health Assistance and Select In-Patient Care for the Principal. The new statute allows you to permit your Agent to retain home services, health assistance if you need it and also select in-patient nursing care for you. The new South Carolina revision allows you to sue anyone who doesn’t honor the document (and recover costs).

What are the requirements to create one ?

Your Durable Power of Attorney must meet the following requirements:

  • The document must be executed like a Will and notarized.
  • Meet the statute requirements.
  • Be recorded at the Register of Deeds office in the county where the principal lives.
  • The new statute also provides a form your Agent may complete indicating your intent for the Durable Power of Attorney to be effective immediately.

These are some basic facts that will be useful in moving forward to obtain the necessary documents should you or a loved one become unable to care for themselves. This is an area where you really do need to get professional advice before you really need it.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Regulation is designed to protect personal information and data collected and stored in medical records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act established a national standard to be used in all doctors’ offices, hospitals and other businesses where personal medical information is stored.


Lancaster County Register of Deeds