Power of Attorney is a written document that allows you to appoint a person or organization to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so.
The person authorizing the other to act is the principal, grantor, or donor and the person authorized to act is the agent.
General Power of Attorney
Gives broad powers to a person or organization to act on your behalf. Including financial decisions, business transactions, life insurance, claim settlement, gifts, and employing professional help. A general POA is helpful when a person is no longer physically or mentally able to manage their affairs. This appointment is often included in an estate plan.
Special Power of Attorney
This can include any of the duties listed above but the estate holder may pick and choose which affairs the POA will handle.
Durable Power of Attorney
The durable POA for healthcare is given to the person you want to make medical decisions for you in an emergency. Your wishes should be set out in your living will, but it may not cover every circumstance and this agent can make decisions that aren’t covered. Keep in mind that the person with a durable power of attorney for healthcare can never contradict the terms of your living will. This person is there to fill in gaps, for situations not covered by your living will, or in case your living will is invalidated for any reason.
What makes a power of attorney valid?
A power of attorney is only valid if you are mentally competent when it is signed. If you think your competency may be questioned, it may be in your best interest to have a doctor verify it in writing.
You must sign and notarize the original power of attorney document, if copies are made they must be certified. While an attorney is not required to execute a power of attorney, hiring an attorney will ensure you fully understand the powers being granted and the document meets all legal requirements.