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A Brief Overview of Powers of Attorney

When drafting your estate plan, you’ll need to think about when and if you would like a trusted friend or family member to step in and make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. There are several types of power of attorney documents, and your estate planning attorney can help you decide which option best suits your needs.

General

This document gives full decision-making rights to the person named in the document. The person named in this document is able to take on all the rights you have as an individual; they may use this document to pay your bills, sell or buy property, or sign contracts on your behalf. This is typically used by people who need assistance managing their finances.

Limited 

On the other hand, there’s the limited power of attorney, which strictly limits the rights given to the person named in the power of attorney paperwork. Many people use this document to allow an individual to take care of one specific transaction on their behalf. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney is no longer in effect.

Durable

A durable power of attorney is often used to protect an individual’s best interests if they become incapacitated and are unable to make their own decisions. This document gives a named individual full rights when certain circumstances are met. If you choose to create a power of attorney that goes into effect when you become incapacitated, ensure that the document lists the specific standards that must be met before your named representative takes over decision-making power. This document stays in place until the principal’s death.

Springing

A springing power of attorney may be durable or non-durable. It only goes into effect when certain events occur; for example, you may draft a springing power of attorney that goes into effect when you leave the country or when you become incapacitated. The agent is permitted to take on named responsibilities and tasks.

Medical

This document is an important part of many individuals’ estate plans. It names a person who is allowed to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make your own health care decisions. The person who is named in the document is expected to serve as the patient’s advocate, so it’s crucial to choose someone who is respectful of your preferences.

Wondering which power of attorney you need to round out your estate plan? Let us help. Reach out to Elder Care Law Firm at 910-692-4444 to set up a consultation.

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