Powers of attorney (POAs) are an essential part of most estate plans. These legal documents ensure you have the right assistance to handle certain matters during your life, which is indispensable when experiencing a serious health issue.
There are a few types of POAs to choose from, so you must go into the process fully informed. Here are some important aspects to keep in mind.
A general POA gives the person you select a broad range of authority when it comes to your personal affairs. This includes any legal and financial issues you would normally handle on your own. Should you become incapacitated by illness or injury, the person acting on your behalf will no longer have any authority over your affairs.
With a specific POA, the person acting on your behalf will only have limited authority over your legal and financial matters. For example, the person may pay bills for you or handle the process of selling your home. In most cases, these arrangements only last a certain period of time. Like the general POA, any specific authority held by your agent no longer applies if you become incapacitated.
A durable POA can offer general authority or only allow your representative authority over certain matters. However, durable POAs continue even after you become incapacitated. If you experience a major accident or suffer mental and physical decline due to an illness, your agent has the authority to handle decisions based on the terms of your agreement. In some cases, the person can also make health decisions on your behalf.
No matter what type of POA you choose, the person acting as your agent must conduct themselves appropriately. Make sure they are responsible, organized, and willing to perform duties for you when the time comes.