A power of attorney is a legal device that can be used to satisfy a number of different underlying objectives. If you create a power of attorney, you are called the grantor of the device in legal parlance. In the document, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. This agent would be empowered to act on your behalf in a legally binding manner.
Limited vs. General
There are limited powers of attorney and general powers of attorney. You could use a limited power of attorney to grant someone the power to act on your behalf in a limited manner.
For example, let’s say that you were going to be conducting business in Asia for a month. You could create a limited power of attorney that granted a business associate the ability to sign certain documents on your behalf while you are gone. This would be the extent of the power granted, and it could terminate upon your return from Asia.
With a general power of attorney, you would be giving the agent the power to act on your behalf in a comprehensive, sweeping manner. To a large extent, the agent would be able to do anything that you could do on your own behalf.
Durable Powers of Attorney
We specialize in estate planning. In our area of the law, durable powers of attorney are utilized to account for latter life incapacity.
A durable power of attorney would remain in effect even if the grantor of the device was to become incapacitated. When you create an incapacity plan, you could include a durable financial power of attorney to name a financial decision-maker. You could add a durable power of attorney for health care to empower someone of your own choosing to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
It is important to understand the fact that many elders become unable to communicate sound decisions on their own at some point in time. Clearly, this is not a very pleasant possibility to consider, but it is a fact of life. A difficult situation can be all the worse if you make no plans to prepare for it in advance.
The state could ultimately appoint someone to make decisions for you if you do nothing to prepare for possible incapacity. When you are properly prepared, hand-picked decision-makers of your own choosing will be standing at the ready to act for you, and there would be no need for a court appointed guardian.
Action Is Required
If you are going through life without an incapacity plan, action is required. Our firm offers a free consultation after you attend one of our estate planning seminars. You can call us at (239) 225-7911 or click here to register for an upcoming seminar.
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