What Is a Power of Attorney?

Free General Power-0f-Attorney

Part of planning for the unforeseen may include giving another person the power to make decisions on your behalf. This power of attorney is granted in many different situations, all of which typically have variable triggers and conditions. Find out more about some of the most common power of attorney documents and when they may come into play.

General Power of Attorney

By contrast, a general power of attorney gives a wide range of power to someone to act for you. These include things such as managing financial affairs, filing tax returns and handling day-to-day business activities on your behalf. A general power of attorney is useful in the case of caring for aging parents who may not have the full mental capacity to make these decisions or carry out these tasks for themselves. However, it is important to note that if you become incapacitated, even temporarily, the general power of attorney no longer applies.

Durable Power of Attorney

Planning for your incapacitation, either by physical or mental illness, is not pleasant but necessary. Since a general power of attorney expires upon your incapacitation, it will not work. In this instance, you may want to create a durable power of attorney. This gives the appointed person the power to make all the same decisions as a general document does, but it continues through your incapacitation. Should you recover, the durable power of attorney stays in place, as it does in the event of your death.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is part of a comprehensive estate plan. It is one of the most important decisions you will make as it designates the person responsible for making medical choices for you should you be unable to. This may be because you are in surgery or mentally deemed unfit. If you do not designate someone and you become incapacitated but need medical care, the court may choose someone you do not want to make these choices. The medical power of attorney should know what your wishes are for extending your life and medical intervention in the face of failing health. It should be a person you trust to hold fast to your wishes.

You want to ensure your best interests are kept in mind when someone else needs to make decisions for you. Naming a person to make these choices is crucial. Get with an estate planning lawyer to create the arrangements for creating the proper power of attorney documents.

One thing to note is that power of attorney can come up in many different areas of law, including personal injury. As the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen explain, it may be that someone was injured through the negligence of another and has become incapacitated. In this instance, someone else may be required to act on their behalf. If you have questions about how power of attorney may come into play regarding your situation, be sure to contact your attorney.


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