Middle aged man and woman looking at paperwork

Life might throw us a few surprises from time to time, and we try to prepare ourselves as much as we can. Unexpected events, such as car accidents and illnesses, can make us vulnerable. Nothing is worse than worrying about the welfare of our loved ones during turbulent times. In these situations, a power of attorney can help.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney, also known as a POA, is an estate planning document that lets you appoint another person to make decisions on your behalf. If you cannot make financial, healthcare, and family decisions for yourself, POAs can protect your interests.

A better understanding of each type of POA will help you choose the one that best meets your needs. Let's look at the most common types below.

Durable Power of Attorney

When you become incapacitated, such as if you fell into a coma, a durable power of attorney allows your agent to make decisions on your behalf. POAs are common in estate planning because you plan for a situation where you will not be able to make decisions on your own. In addition to making decisions on financial or healthcare matters, the DPOA will sign documents for you. Unless otherwise stated, this power of attorney takes effect immediately upon signing.

Non-Durable Power of Attorney

In a non-durable power of attorney, your agent's authority ends if you become incapacitated or die. Non-durable POAs are not as helpful in estate planning but have their place. Your accountant may be granted a non-durable POA for managing your finances on a day-to-day basis, for example.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also called a healthcare POA, lets your agent make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Examples of such decisions include:

  • Medical Treatment
  • Surgery
  • Organ Donation
  • Medication
  • End-of-life Care

Before obtaining a medical power of attorney, your physician must declare you mentally incompetent.

General Power of Attorney

Your agent has broad authority to act on your behalf under a general power of attorney. Your agent will be able to make decisions for you in areas such as:

  • Filing taxes
  • Buying and selling property
  • Paying bills
  • Managing banking transactions

General POAs can be durable or non-durable. Although they give the agent considerable power, they also have limitations. For example, your agent cannot enter into a marriage on your behalf.

Limited (Special) Power of Attorney

Your agent can act on your behalf with a limited power of attorney, but only under certain circumstances. Using a limited power of attorney, your agent can write checks on your behalf but not access your bank accounts.

These powers of attorney will expire once the task is completed.

Springing Power of Attorney

When a specified event occurs, the springing power of attorney takes effect. An example would be when a military service member is deployed. As well as being set for specific times, it can be set for incapacitated or dead individuals.

Understanding the different types of powers of attorney will allow you to make an informed decision on which one fits your needs best.

Contact Our Metro West Boston Estate Planning Team Today

A power of attorney should be handled with the guidance of an attorney. Marsden Law P.C. understands that planning for the future can seem daunting when handled by yourself. We are dedicated to providing you and your family with a smooth and efficient process.

For help setting up a power of attorney , contact Marsden Law P.C. today at (800) 828-7854!