An Estate Attorney Answers: What Does Power of Attorney Really Mean?
Most of us have heard the phrase “power of attorney”, but that does not necessarily mean everyone truly understands what it means. In a previous blog, our estate attorney covered the basics of choosing someone to give the power of attorney to, but what about if someone elects to give that power to you?
What does it mean to have it? What kind of responsibilities do you now hold for that person? Does it factor into hiring an estate attorney? These are important questions to ask when you are offered this role, and our estate attorney can explain what it actually means for you.
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Types of Power of Attorney
Put simply, “power of attorney” is the legal designation of a selected person as the one who acts on behalf of someone else. The most common reason for this is when someone suffers from a condition that renders them unable to make decisions or do things for themselves. What that condition is can be anything from physical injury to mental issues. Power of attorney is granted with a legal document, and comes in one of the following three variations:
General power of attorney gives broad reach to the chosen person in terms of what they can do on behalf of the party no longer able to do certain things. This is usually the kind of power of attorney being referred to in cases where someone is no longer mentally capable of making their own decisions.
It can also be used in situations where someone will be out of the country or otherwise unable to deal with their own affairs directly. Someone they trust with general power of attorney will be able to take care of things for them in the meantime.
Healthcare-based power of attorney is a more limited version, narrowing the range of responsibilities of the nominated person to decisions that pertain to healthcare. This is usually an option for someone suffering a long-term or possibly terminal illness who may eventually be unable to make their own decisions. Medical-specific decisions will defer to the person with medical power of attorney when the person suffering is no longer able to make them.
Special power of attorney opens up the options for what responsibilities the nominated party can have. As mentioned earlier, there may be circumstances other than illness or mental health that make it impossible to do deal with certain affairs. Special power of attorney allows someone to be more selective with which responsibilities someone has.
What About Durable Power of Attorney?
If you’re looking into hiring an estate attorney, you’ve likely already come across information about power of attorney and something called “durable” power of attorney. What does this designation mean? Unlike the regular power of attorney, durable power of attorney begins as soon as the paperwork is signed. This type of power of attorney is then maintained until the death of the person who initially granted it, or until it is specifically revoked.
Related Post: What Are Some Myths About Powers of Attorney?
Contact An Estate Attorney Today
Are you overwhelmed by your responsibilities as someone with the power of attorney of a relative? Or are you looking for general advice on estate planning or will writing? Contact the Davidson Law Group in Fort Worth, Allen, or Tyler. Our estate attorneys can help you understand the finer details of planning for your family’s future. Start laying the foundation for your Texas legacy today.