What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | Wills and Estate

When you make your will, you’ll have to take inventory of all your assets, decide who’ll benefit from your death, who’ll care for your assets during the probate process and assign someone to care for your children.

Often, people only consider their will as a plan for after their death, but a will can benefit you while you’re alive. You’ll have to decide who your power of attorney (POA) will be. A power of attorney will make decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated.

But, that’s not all a power of attorney does – here’s what you should know:

Durable power of attorney

A durable POA  handles both financial and medical decisions if someone is unable to make decisions for themselves. Both financial and medical POA only becomes active when someone is incapacitated.

A medical POA may choose if someone needs medical treatment, surgery or medication after a car crash, stroke or assault, for example. A financial POA, alternatively, would make the financial preparations for paying rent, taxes or loans while someone is incapacitated.

General power of attorney

Some people prefer to have separate people run financial and medical decisions. Conversely, if someone believes the POA for medical decisions is capable of running financial decisions, then they may assign one person as a general POA.

Special power of attorney

Some people assign what’s known as a special POA. A special POA may be a temporary position given to someone to make financial decisions while the testator is overseas or on a business trip. For example, a special POA may make a home purchase on behalf of the testator.

If you’re planning your estate, you may need to reach out for legal help to make sure you’re assigning the right person as your power of attorney.

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