What Is A Power of Attorney (POA)?
You may have heard the term “power of attorney” before and wondered what it is and why it’s necessary. In the simplest terms, it is a legal document that allows someone to act on your behalf. There are several reasons why you may need a POA, and each has a specific purpose. First, let’s go over what a POA does.
What Does A Power of Attorney Do?
A POA gives another person the legal right to make lifestyle, medical or financial decisions on your behalf when you are unable. You can also have a POA if you are out of town and need someone to manage your affairs.
Types of Power of Attorney
A POA can either be temporary or endure until you legally revoke the POA. There are different types of POAs for certain situations, and each has specific guidelines that determine its legal relevance.
A general POA allows another person, also called an agent, to act on your behalf. The agent doesn’t have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone you want to authorize to make decisions. A few examples include:
- Automobile registration
- Real estate transactions
- Banking and financial matters
- Preparing and filing taxes
- Benefits management
It’s important to know that a general POA becomes void in the event you are incapacitated. For it to be lasting, the POA has to be durable. More on that below.
A limited POA is just like it sounds. It only takes effect during a certain time or based on specific conditions. Let’s say you’re going to be moving out of the country for six months. You may have a limited POA that allows another person to handle your financial affairs. Under that same POA, you can specify that your agent isn’t allowed to sell real estate investments. If an injury makes you unable to make decisions, the limited POA is no longer in effect. That’s where a durable POA comes into play.
A durable POA gives your agent the indefinite ability to make financial, medical and lifestyle decisions for you. This is an important legal tool to have in place, especially if you’re concerned about what might happen if an injury, illness or a serious medical condition renders you or a loved one unable to make decisions. For a durable POA to be void, you have to go through the process of having it legally revoked.
A healthcare POA is specifically used if you need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. For example, if you’re in a car accident and seriously injured. During that time, your spouse may be appointed as a healthcare POA to authorize certain treatments for you. Once you recover, the health POA is no longer in effect unless it’s durable. Note that a living will or healthcare directive isn’t the same as a healthcare POA. This type of documentation communicates your preferences for end-of-life care.
Set Up Your Power of Attorney with Mattingly Ford Law
If you need a power of attorney, Mattingly Ford Law is ready to help. Our highly experienced attorneys guide you through the process and make it easy to get the legal documentation you need for added peace of mind. Call us at (502) 814-9860 or contact us online.