A Brief Guide to the Various Types of Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney allows another person to act legally on your behalf. It can be extremely broad, or it can be limited to just certain aspects of your life. Each type will also vary on when or how it is effective. Your specific needs will dictate which type will work best for you.

Standard (or General) Power of Attorney

A standard power of attorney is the most extensive type of power of attorney. It will allow another person to handle your legal affairs while you are unable to do so. For example, if you are not in the geographical area or you are physically or mentally unable to handle your own legal issues, the person to whom you have granted a general power of attorney will be able to address these matters for you.

Many general powers of attorney are a key aspect of an estate plan as well. The powers often include:

  • Buying, selling, or managing real estate
  • Handling financial transactions, including safety deposit boxes
  • Filing tax returns
  • Entering into contracts
  • Settling claims
  • Purchasing insurance
  • Applying for or maintaining government benefits
  • Exercising stock rights

You can also add whatever powers you would like to fit your needs.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney will remain valid when you are unable to make the decisions for yourself. For example, if you are suddenly stricken with an illness, your designated individual will be able to deal with your legal matters while you recover.

If your power of attorney was not “durable,” the person that you designate would not be able to do anything that you are unable to do, including signing paperwork if you are incapacitated. Making your power of attorney durable means that it will last through situations where you cannot make decisions on your own behalf. Technically, any type of power of attorney can be made “durable” by adding specific language to the document.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney will allow someone else to make decisions regarding your healthcare when you are unable to do so. This type of document is limited to healthcare decisions, so actions regarding your finances or contracts are not addressed.

A healthcare power of attorney will permit a close friend or family member to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can also designate a particular doctor to make decisions as well.

Limited (or Special) Power of Attorney

If you want your agent to act on your behalf only in certain situations, you can create a special or limited power of attorney to deal with certain legal aspects of your life. It is helpful if you only want to authorize someone else to act on your behalf in specific transactions or situations. Examples include:

  • Collecting debts
  • Acting with respect to particular property
  • Entering safety deposit boxes
  • Making estate planning decisions
  • Selling personal property

Having a power of attorney is not only convenient, but it is also a good idea in case of an emergency. Talk to the Legacy Planning Law Group by calling 904-880-5554 to determine which power of attorney is right for you.

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Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.