Why You Want to Have a POA in Place
When you’re putting all the pieces of your estate plan together, an essential component, often overlooked, is a power of attorney (POA). It’s relatively easy to implement and can help minimize potential uncertainty and conflict. Let’s look at what a power of attorney is, the different forms it can take, and what it can do for you.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a written legal document by which one person (the “principal”) legally conveys some type of decision-making authority to another person or entity (the “agent”). It is commonly used when the principal lacks the capacity to make his or her own decisions. A power of attorney may be temporary or permanent and may include broad or limited powers. As a general rule, a person must be at least 18 years of age to legally create a binding power of attorney. The implementation and termination of the powers granted under a POA may vary, based on the type of POA. However, with all powers of attorney, any legal authority conveyed is terminated upon the death of the principal.
What Are the Different Types of Powers of Attorney?
Powers of attorney come in a variety of forms:
- The durable power of attorney—Perhaps the most common type of POA, a durable power of attorney becomes effective immediately upon signing, and remains in effect, whether or not you become incapacitated. The durable POA usually conveys broad decision-making authority.
- The non-durable power of attorney—This POA may go into effect immediately or at some point in the future, but it is customarily for a specific period of time, and usually limited in scope to only expressly stated types of decisions.
- The springing power of attorney—This document is used when the principal needs an agent only during times of incapacity. A springing POA typically requires a declaration of mental incompetency to go into effect.
- The general power of attorney—This POA typically conveys virtually unlimited decision-making power, granting the agent the legal authority to make all decisions the principal would otherwise have had the right to make
- The limited power of attorney—This document limits the subject matter of any decision-making power, but typically doesn’t include any time limits. A principal may grant powers related to only legal, financial or medical decisions, for example.
- The medical power of attorney—A common example of a limited power of attorney, this document customarily conveys the legal authority to make decisions about healthcare
Contact the Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the peace of mind that comes from having a well-structured estate plan in place. We will help you determine the tools most appropriate to meet your goals and will prepare and execute the necessary documents. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable and thorough estate planning lawyer, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.