The purpose of a “power attorney” is so that if a person becomes incapacitated, another individual can make sure that his or her wishes are carried out after a mental illness or physical disability. When individuals are unable to make decisions on their own behalf, another trusted individual is designated to make decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf. To make an effective power of attorney document, individuals often find it essential to contact a skilled estate planning attorney.

The Difference Between Powers of Attorney

There are financial powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney.

Financial powers of attorney designate which individual has the authority to make financial decisions in case that person becomes incapacitated. Financial powers of attorneys can either be limited in scope or give a designated person a broad range of powers over the incapacitated person’s financial affairs. Financial powers of attorney can also be limited in duration or infinite.

Healthcare powers of attorney grant a designated party with the ability to make healthcare decisions on behalf of a person who becomes incapacitated. Like financial powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney can be broad or limited in nature.

A durable power of attorney gives an individual the authority to make decisions for a person when that individual becomes incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney, however, do not terminate when the person becomes incapacitated and only end when that individual dies. As a result, durable power of attorney documents must be put in place before that individual becomes incapacitated. These documents must state that they will not be affected by the disability or incapacity of the person who creates the document.

The Difference Between General and Limited Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney can be either general or limited in nature. There is no universal answer about which option is better. Instead, depending on the facts in a person’s case, an individual might find either is a better option.

A limited power of attorney grants a limited type of power and often lasts for a specific period of time. These powers often expire at a specific time and if no termination is specified, then the power will automatically end when the creator either dies or becomes incapacitated.

A general power of attorney grants a wider range of powers to the designated party. A person who is granted these powers has the ability to do whatever the creator was able to legally do for him or herself. It is critical that individuals who grant general powers of attorney give significant thought to granting such a wide range of powers to an individual. With a general power of attorney, the designated party is granted the authority to buy and sell property, mortgage property, and open or close accounts in the incapacitated person’s name.

Speak with a Seasoned Estate Planning Attorney

Attorney Jim A Lyon is waiting to consult about your case and create as detailed a power of attorney document as possible. If you would like information about how our law office can help you, contact our law office today.