Alabama durable power of attorney laws are found in Alabama Code, Title 26, Chapter 1. According to Section 26-1A-104, a power of attorney to which this chapter applies is durable, unless it expressly provides that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal.
A durable power of attorney will contain a statement that shows the intent of the principal, which states that the power of attorney will not be affected by incapacity, incompetence or disability of the principal. The agent’s acts on behalf of the principal when the principal is incapacitated will have the same effect as if the principal was not incapacitated. However, if a court appoints a guardian, fiduciary or curator (jointly “guardian”) the agent will be answerable to the guardian as if to the principal. The guardian has all powers of the principal relating to revoking or amending the power of attorney.
Under a power of attorney an agent can manage the principal’s affairs and property if duly authorized by writing. The agent can also make gifts of principal’s property if authorized. Gift of property can be made to the agent itself.
Generally, the principal’s death does not revoke or invalidate the actions of the agent, or any person who acted without actual knowledge of principal’s death; and the agent’s or any person’s actions will bind the principal’s successors. Under a durable power of attorney the principal can designate an agent to make decisions relating to health care for the principal during the period the principal is incapacitated. However, health care decisions by the agent cannot include the following:
- abortion (when not necessary to preserve the life of the principal), or
- involuntary hospitalization or
- treatments stated under Subtitle 2 of Title 22.
A principal can revoke a durable power of attorney relating to health care, through written revocation which is properly dated and signed, or through oral revocation in presence of a witness above 19 years. In case of oral revocation the witness should provide a written confirmation. If the agent is the principal’s spouse, the power of attorney will be revoked if the parties move for divorce.
An agent who is authorized by a durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions including life sustaining treatments or providing artificial nutrition will not be liable under civil or criminal laws. Likewise, healthcare providers or its employees will not be put to civil or criminal liability if they have acted on the duly authorized agent’s instruction. However, the agent is bound by laws of Alabama that relates to life sustaining treatments or providing artificial nutrition. A durable power of attorney relating to healthcare created in another state in compliance with the law of that state or Alabama law is valid.