A Basic Explanation of Power of Attorney

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Many people understand a power of attorney to be something only the elderly need to consider. The truth is many people in various situations could use a POA. It’s basically a legal document giving someone else the authority to act in place of you. In this legal relationship, you are referred to as the principal and the individual you give power to is referred to as the agent.

Four Levels of Control

There are different types of POAs you may create, and each gives your agent a different level of control. The following are four for you to consider.

  1. General – A general power of attorney allows your agent very broad powers. He or she could buy life insurance, make gifts, settle claims and handle other financial transactions. General POAs are often part of estate plans so elderly individuals can ensure their estate is taken care of by someone they trust when they are incapable of doing it themselves.
  2. Medical or Health Care – A medical or health care power of attorney allows your agent to make medical decisions when you are unable. For example, if you are unconscious during surgery and the doctor needs someone to make a medical decision, the POA would do that. If someone needs to decide whether you’re kept on life support and for how long, it would be your medical POA.
  3. Special – A special power of attorney specifies certain powers the agent has. If you are leaving the country for a certain amount of time or are dealing with temporary health conditions, your special POA can handle your affairs. For example, if you will be out of the country when your house sells in the states, the special POA can sign the closing documents on your behalf.
  4. Durable – A durable power of attorney is essentially a general, medical or special POA with a provision of durability. What this means is if you have one of the first three POAs in effect and you are in an accident or other traumatic event and cannot handle your own affairs, the agent mentioned in the other POA would keep his or her current power.

Choosing Your Agent

As you work with your lawyer to create a power of attorney, you will need to choose an agent. Consider everyone close to you and whether they will put your best interests first. Ask yourself if they are honest and if you would trust them with your life, because that is sometimes what agents have to deal with.

Contacting Your Attorney

A power of attorney lawyer in Chandler, AZ is a great place to turn when you want to learn more about a power of attorney. Contact your lawyer today.



Thanks to Citadel Law Firm for their insight into estate planning and a power of attorney.