There are many possible powers of a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a type of legal document that allows an individual to grant powers to an agent to take certain actions on their behalf according to the Legal Information Institute (LII).
For example, a healthcare power of attorney may enable an agent to make decisions about the medical treatment a person receives if they enter a vegetative state. Accordingly, the powers of attorney you grant are what you choose them to be. Some common powers in these documents include the ability to:
- Bank or use your safe deposit box.
- Pay bills or taxes on your behalf.
- Handle real estate transactions in your name.
- Make legal or financial decisions on your behalf.
- Make decisions regarding your medical care.
Some powers become active only when certain situations arise. Powers of attorney may be drafted by a third-party lawyer so that you have full control over what powers you enable your representative to have.
Types of Powers of Attorney
There are a few common types of powers of attorney. They include:
- Financial power of attorney. This can allow an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf and may contain many types of powers that you choose to include. There are both general and limited forms of financial powers of attorney to determine the scope of an agent’s powers.
- Medical power of attorney. This can allow your agent to make decisions about your healthcare and treatment, should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate those decisions on your own. You still have authority over your own medical decisions while you retain your capacity, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
- Durable power of attorney. This can grant your agent the right to make financial decisions for you, even if you become incapacitated.
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Why Someone May Choose to Create a Power of Attorney
Although a power of attorney can be useful for someone who wants a business proxy or as a precaution for a catastrophic injury, many people use powers of attorney as part of their estate planning process.
There are good reasons for this. As many people age, they may lose their cognitive abilities or face end-of-life medical scenarios that can leave them incapacitated. Without legal paperwork or planning indicating how they want their treatment or assets used in these scenarios, decisions about their life and finances could fall on the medical system, their family, or state law.
A power of attorney can establish your wishes and empower a trusted agent to execute these decisions for you. It can also save your family from the scenario of making difficult decisions on your behalf without your input.
Many people find that a power of attorney puts them at ease about their future as they age and can take their minds off of many what-ifs regarding their finances and their wellbeing.
Working with an Estate Lawyer on Your Power of Attorney
Even though a power of attorney allows an agent to act in your place, the authority behind this document is completely within your control. Working with an estate planning lawyer that you trust on your power of attorney can help make sure that you know exactly what powers you are granting.
Typically, an estate planning lawyer can:
- Help you determine what type of power of attorney suits your wishes.
- Give you legal advice or recommendations based on your needs, your situation, and your desired outcomes.
- Help you draft a customized power of attorney document tailored to your needs.
- Confirm that a power of attorney is legally valid and signed by both parties.
- Support you with voiding or redrafting a power of attorney, or re-assigning an agent, if necessary.
Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys May Be Able to Help You
The team at Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys offers powers of attorney services to clients in Philadelphia and New Jersey. We provide a wide range of customizable solutions to make sure the powers you want to grant are protected by your document.
In addition to powers of attorney services, we support clients with:
- Wills, trusts, and asset transfers.
- Living wills.
- Guardianships and conservatorships.
- Long-term care insurance to budget for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
- Medicaid qualifying trusts.
- Retirement accounts, such as pensions, IRAs, and 401Ks.
- Asset protection
We also offer life care planning services, which may entail creating a comprehensive financial and medical plan for your future care with lawyers and elder care coordinators.
At Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys, we want you to feel confident about your future. Our staff can address your legal needs regarding power of attorney or any other estate planning matters. We welcome clients at any stage of their estate planning process.
To learn more about our services from a member of our team, call us today at (856) 292-8157. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start working on the legal arrangements to secure your wishes for the future.