Adult daughter talking to older father about his power of attorney

Different Powers of Attorney

Not every estate plan is the same. Many include trusts, wills, and other essential documentation that lets loved ones know your wishes for your future care and assets after your passing. As part of a well-rounded estate plan, a key element is naming powers of attorney. Some assume that securing one power of attorney is all that is needed; however, several different powers of attorney should be established depending on your needs.

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney is the most commonly used power of attorney and gives someone else the authority to make general decisions on your behalf. This could include managing your finances, selling property, and handling other legal matters. You can give someone as much or as little power as you’d like with a General Power of Attorney.

The person you appoint as your attorney is known as your “agent.” You can grant your agent a wide range of powers or limit their authority to specific tasks. A General Power of Attorney is used when you want to appoint someone to handle your affairs but you are not unable to do so yourself. A General Power of Attorney is revocable, meaning that you can cancel the arrangement and is no longer valid should you become incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is a good option if you want to appoint someone to handle your affairs but you are not sure if you will be able to do so in the future. This arrangement is similar to a General Power of Attorney in that it gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. However, a difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney is a Durable Power of Attorney is not revoked should you become incapacitated.

With a Durable Power of Attorney, you can specify when the arrangement goes into effect. For example, you may want it only to kick in if you are diagnosed with a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s disease. Or, it could go into effect as soon as you sign the document.

A Durable Power of Attorney is revocable, meaning that you can cancel the arrangement.

Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney is a type of power of attorney that gives someone else the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. This can be due to an injury, illness, or procedure that renders you unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes. Like a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney is not automatically revoked if you become incapacitated. You will need to specifically revoke the Medical Power of Attorney if you no longer want your agent to have this authority.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney is a type of power of attorney that gives someone else the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. This can be helpful if you are going out of the country for an extended period or facing a serious medical condition. Unlike a General Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney does not expire if you become incapacitated. This means that your agent can still act on your behalf even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. However, a Financial Power of Attorney is automatically revoked if you become bankrupt. You will need to specifically revoke the Financial Power of Attorney if you no longer want your agent to have this authority.

Set Up Your Powers of Attorney Today

If you have yet to designate powers of attorney as part of your estate plan, there is no better time to get started. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Jerimy Kirschner & Associates, PLLC are here to guide you through this process. Contact our team today online or by phone. (206) 203-8802

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