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Types of Power of Attorney

The Importance of Power of Attorney (POA)

Power of attorney (POA) is a crucial legal document that grants authority to one person to act on behalf of another. It can be used for various purposes, including managing financial affairs, making health care decisions, and even end-of-life care. Understanding what power of attorney is and how it works is essential for anyone considering granting or accepting this authority.

In this blog post, we will provide an overview of what power of attorney is, how it works, and how it can be used. We will also discuss the legal considerations and considerations of granting or accepting power of attorney. Additionally, we will explore the types of POA and provide information on how to create a POA. With this knowledge, anyone can make an informed decision about granting or accepting power of attorney.

What is Power of Attorney (POA)?

POA is a legal document that grants authority to one person to act on behalf of another. There are two types of POA: general and special. General POA grants broad authority in all areas of a person’s life.  On the other hand, special POA grants authority in a specific area.

How Does Power of Attorney Work?

When someone is unable to manage their own affairs, it is time to consider a POA. The person granting the POA is known as the principal.  The person given authority to act on behalf of the principal is known as the agent. The agent is responsible for managing the principal’s affairs. General rules established by the courts are used to determine whether a person has the legal capacity to grant POA. Additionally, specific rules govern what POA may or may not cover. POA can be used in two ways.  It can give the agent authority to act on behalf of the principal now or at a later time.

What is Power of Attorney Used For?

POA can be used for a variety of purposes.  It’s main purpose is to ensure that the principal’s wishes are carried out in the event that they become unable to make decisions for themselves. Some include managing financial affairs, making health care decisions, or making decisions about end-of-life care. POA can be divided into two types: general and special. General POA gives the agent broad authority in all areas of the principal’s life.  A special POA gives the agent authority in specific areas.  It can also be used to avoid the probate process and ensure that the principal’s assets are distributed according to their wishes.

Some POA are a Conflict of interest.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the agent may have a potential conflict of interest. If the agent is also a beneficiary of the principal’s estate, they may be tempted to make decisions that benefit themselves, not the principal. It is important to choose an agent that is trustworthy and has the best interest of the principal in mind.

There are several types of POA, each with its own set of benefits and disadvantages.

General Power of Attorney

 A general power of attorney grants broad authority to the agent to handle all aspects of the principal’s financial and legal affairs. This type of power of attorney can be useful in situations where the principal is going to be away for an extended period of time and needs someone to handle their affairs in their absence. Benefits include the ability for the agent to handle a wide range of tasks and the ability for the principal to retain control over their affairs. Disadvantages include the potential for abuse of power by the agent, and the lack of specificity in the authority granted.

Special Power of Attorney:

A special power of attorney grants authority to the agent to handle specific tasks or transactions. This type of power of attorney can be useful in situations where the principal is unable to handle a specific task or transaction themselves. Benefits include the ability for the principal to retain control over their affairs and the ability to limit the agent’s authority to specific tasks or transactions. Disadvantages include the lack of flexibility and the potential for confusion if the agent is unsure of their authority.

Durable Power of Attorney:

A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This type of power of attorney can be useful in situations where the principal is at risk of becoming incapacitated.   Most importantly durable POA allows for the principal to ensure that their affairs will be handled by someone they trust . Disadvantages include the potential for abuse of power by the agent and the lack of control by the principal over their affairs.

Medical Power of attorney:

A medical power of attorney grants authority to the agent to make decisions about the principal’s health care.   This type of power of attorney can be useful where the principal wants certainty that their health care wishes are respected. In addition, your designated agent might need to make quick and informed decisions about the principal’s medical care in emergency situations. However, it’s important to note that the agent’s decision-making power is limited to the scope of authority defined in the document.

Some Disadvantages of Medical POA:

Some disadvantages include the possibility of disputes between the principal and agent over medical decisions, or the agent may not act in the best interest of the principal. It’s important to choose an agent who shares your values and beliefs about health care.  Consider having  an open and honest communication with them about your wishes. It’s also important to review and update the medical power of attorney regularly as medical wishes and health conditions can change over time.

Additionally, it is important to review and update the power of attorney document regularly to ensure that it continues to meet the needs and reflect any changes in the principal’s life.

In summary

Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants authority to an agent to handle financial or legal affairs on behalf of the principal. There are different types of POA, such as general and special, durable or non-durable, and for medical decisions. It’s important to understand its benefits and limitations. It’s also crucial to choose a trustworthy agent, consult with an attorney, and inform relevant parties of its existence. Certain POA can be revoked or terminated at any time by the principal as long as they have capacity. This blog post has provided the legal considerations of POA, and considerations of granting or accepting power of attorney. 

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