The Power of Attorney is an estate planning document that allows you to name an agent, someone who can act as your legal representative and make decisions on your behalf. There are a number of potential applications for this. For example, if you become incapacitated or unwilling to speak for yourself, a Power of Attorney may let you name someone to make your healthcare decisions, decisions about your personal finances, etc.
When you talk with a Power of Attorney lawyer about executing one of these documents, it may help to know about different types of Power of Attorney. Specifically, it may be useful to know what separates a durable Power of Attorney from a general Power of Attorney. Here is a brief overview from the team at Singh Law Firm.
General vs. Durable Power of Attorney
The powers granted by a general Power of Attorney come to an end the moment you become incapacitated. As such, it won’t help at all when it comes to crucial end-of-life decisions, or tough calls regarding medical crises. Instead, the general Power of Attorney is used simply to help shoulder the legal or financial responsibilities of a loved one.
When a Power of Attorney is durable, that means it includes language noting that it remains in effect even when the author becomes incapacitated or unconscious. Instead, the durable Power of Attorney remains in effect until the author dies or until the author revokes it. Otherwise, there is no “deadline” for the powers granted under this document.
Note: You may occasionally run into an odd scenario in which a court will dissolve a durable Power of Attorney. For instance, this may take place if a husband and wife divorce but forget to update their estate planning documents. This is very much the exception to the rule.
Because durable Power of Attorney powers remain in effect even past medical incapacitation, they can be much better-suited for addressing challenging issues related to medical crises or end-of-life care.
Power of Attorney: Further Distinctions
In addition to general and durable Power of Attorney documents, there are a few other distinctions worth mentioning. One of the most important is the distinction between a financial Power of Attorney and a healthcare Power of Attorney.
A financial Power of Attorney is exactly what its name suggests. This document allows you to appoint someone to act as your representative on financial matters and business affairs, which may range from paying bills to filing taxes to directing investment portfolios. A financial Power of Attorney may be general or durable.
A healthcare Power of Attorney specifically names someone to be your representative on issues related to medical crises and end-of-life care. Again, you can choose a general or a durable document.
Finally, note that the advance health care directive allows you to specify your wishes for medical care, ensuring that your family members and your doctors have clarity even if you cannot speak for yourself. An advance health directive can be another valuable addition to your estate plan.
Questions? Talk with a Power of Attorney Lawyer
If you still have questions about how to address your estate planning needs, we welcome you to speak with a living trust and will attorney from Singh Law Firm.
Our firm has helped countless clients navigate complex estate planning needs, and we are particularly happy to talk about the merits of having a Power of Attorney in Fremont, CA. To schedule a consultation appointment with one of our lawyers, contact the Singh Law Firm at your next opportunity.