Attorney sitting with client

Powers of Attorney in Kentucky

By Joshua Berkley

Everyone needs a well-drafted estate plan. Estate plans serve multiple purposes, one of which is to give one or more people the authority to act on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. A document that provides a person with legal authorization to act on the behalf of someone else is called a power of attorney. In Kentucky, there are multiple types of powers of attorney. In this article, we discuss the different types of powers of attorney in Kentucky. 

What is a Power of Attorney?  

A power of attorney gives one party (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to act on behalf of another party (the “principal”). A power of attorney may provide an agent with broad or limited authority to make decisions regarding a principal’s investments, finances, property, and medical care.

Types of Powers of Attorney in Kentucky

General Durable Power of Attorney: The typical general durable power of attorney allows an agent to make financial decisions on behalf of a principal.  These powers of attorney are intended to be quite broad and usually state that the agent has all the powers granted pursuant to Kentucky Statute as well as any additional powers set forth in the document by the principal.  Importantly, for an agent to be able to assist in planning for Medicaid, special provisions must be included as statutory defaults do not provide that power to agents.  The “durable” nature of this power of attorney means it remains effective beyond the principal’s incapacity – which is often when you need it most.

Medical Power of Attorney: In Kentucky, we refer to this document as a Health Care Surrogate Designation, but the document’s function is the same.  Similar to the general durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney permits one person to make medical decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions independently. Unlike the general durable power of attorney which may be effective as soon as the document is signed, a medical power of attorney or health care surrogate designation only applies when a medical decision must be made on a principal’s behalf due to the principal’s incapacity. 

Limited Power of Attorney: Finally, the state of Kentucky allows a person to create a limited power of attorney that gives the agent very limited powers to act on behalf of the principal.  For example, a Limited power of attorney might give the agent authority to sign documents for a real estate closing on a specific property on a specific date.  Limited powers of attorney are also used to temporarily give another parental decision making authority in the event a parent will be unavailable to act on behalf of their child.  Limited powers of attorney are quite flexible and can be used for both reasons of necessity and convenience.

Contact a Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney 

If you are ready to begin the estate planning process in Kentucky, you need an experienced estate planning lawyer on your side. At Berkley Oliver PLLC, our Kentucky estate planning lawyers provide estate planning services to clients throughout Central Kentucky. Whether you need to draft an estate plan from scratch, or you need to review and update your existing estate plan, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that you have a plan in place that will protect you for years to come. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our talented estate planning attorneys.

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.