When obtaining senior legal help, among the topics which should be discussed are Powers of Attorney and different ways in which these can be implemented that many are not aware of. To put it simply, a power of attorney allows a designated individual to carry out your financial, health or other wishes should you become incapacitated.
To ensure our readers understand the purpose of these document it is important to first be familiar with the four main types of powers of attorney:
· A Limited power of attorney provides a designated individual to act on your behalf for a restricted objective. Limited powers of attorney are typically time specified.
· A General power of attorney is a comprehensive document that allows the individual you appoint as your agent all powers and rights which you have. For example, he or she may sign documents, pay bills and conduct any financial dealings in your place. A general power of attorney ends upon your death or incapacitation unless you have rescinded it prior to such an occasion.
· A Durable power of attorney offers a wider scope which can be general or limited to specific duties. The result of not having a durable power of attorney in place, is that no one can represent you and it is up to the court to appoint a guardian or conservator. This document remains in place until one’s death unless rescinded when not incapacitated.
· A Springing power of attorney allows the legally designated individual to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. To ensure the springing power of attorney is used as intended one must clearly state within the document what specifies being incapacitated.
Further, it is vital to be aware of and understand the need for a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney.
· A Medical power of attorney is one type of health care directive providing a record of your health care wishes should you ever be unable to speak for yourself due to an illness, coma, etc. When establishing a medical power of attorney, you designate a trusted individual to oversee your medical care and make health care decisions on your behalf. When doing so, your health care agent is legally required to follow whatever treatment preferences you have expressed. To ensure your agent is fully aware of your wishes, a second health care directive is used, known as a living will or health care directive.
· A Financial Power of Attorney gives your pre-designated agent the legal right to handle whatever financial transactions you have included in the document. While some financial powers of attorney might be limited to a single transaction, what is covered here is in regards to a more comprehensive document known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. Through this your agent is allowed to manage all of your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. Such responsibilities range from depositing checks that come in the mail, overseeing investments, bill payment to filing your tax return. When needed, your agent is allowed to hire a professional who is paid out of your assets to assist with management of your accounts, tax preparation, etc.
Please remember whatever type of power of attorney you put into place, it is vital that the agent you choose is someone you trust completely.
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