Types of Power of Attorney and Which to Use

Power of Attorney legal document and pen

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It is important that you designate a power of attorney in the event that you are not able to make decisions for yourself. You should do this fairly early, especially if you have a predisposition or diagnosis of early dementia or Alzheimer’s. You want to assign a power of attorney while you can still reasonably have the mental capacity to do so, so that it won’t be challenged. Yet there are different types of power of attorney, and you should know which one to use.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney gives someone the ability to act on your behalf for a very specific purpose. The purpose might be to sign off on important financial matters if you are unable to do so or similar situations. A limited power of attorney is usually very temporary, being valid for as little as one day. Most people will not need this type of power of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney gives someone the ability to act on your behalf in all matters, including medical and financial decisions. This power of attorney allows the individual to sign documents, pay your bills, and make financial transactions on your behalf. However, this type of power of attorney expires if you become incapacitated; and, therefore, it is not the best option.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is the type you want to get if you want someone to be able to make decisions and take actions on your behalf after you are physically or mentally incapacitated. The durable power of attorney can be temporary or permanent, and it can be limited or general. The difference here lies in the fact that a durable power of attorney allows people to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to yourself. If you want your attorney-in-fact to be able to handle things right away, this is the best option.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is like a durable power of attorney, but it only goes into effect after you are incapacitated. This is the most common type of power of attorney for people who are diagnosed with a debilitating condition such as Alzheimer’s. Before the illness progresses too much, the springing power of attorney can be signed, but it won’t take effect until you are actually incapacitated.

If you are unsure of what type of power of attorney you want or need, contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.