Does a power of attorney ever expire?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom executed a Power of Attorney document with her lawyer in 1996, naming me the power of attorney. Is the document still valid in 2010? No other POA has been signed.

Expert Answer

The document is still valid in 2010, assuming that your mother remains mentally competent. However, if your mother has become mentally incompetent, whether the document remains valid depends on what type of power of attorney it is. A "durable" power of attorney expressly states that it remains valid even if the principal (here, your mother) becomes incompetent. A normal power of attorney does not state this, and becomes invalid if/once the principal becomes incompetent.