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What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that gives the person you appoint as your attorney the legal power to take care of financial and legal matters on your behalf. Among other things, these might include paying bills, depositing or withdrawing funds from your bank account or selling your house. All actions and decisions made by your attorney must be made with your best interest at heart. While a Power of Attorney is often quite broad, it does not give your attorney authority to make health care decisions on your behalf. If you wish to appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf, you must get a Representation Agreement. You can only grant someone a Power of Attorney while you still have capacity. Thus, it is important to think about adding this to your future planning documents early on in your life while you still have capacity.

There are three different types of Powers of Attorney. A brief description of each follows:

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney is only valid while you, as the adult who granted the power of attorney, has mental capacity. Once you cease to have capacity, the individual whom you appointed as your attorney can no longer act on your behalf.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney is valid while you have capacity, and continues after you lose capacity; thereby, allowing the person you appointed as your attorney to continue to act on your behalf even after you no longer have mental capacity.

Springing Power of Attorney

A Springing Power of Attorney is not valid while you have capacity and only comes into play upon a triggering event, which in most cases requires written confirmation from one or more medical professionals that you no longer have mental capacity. At this point, your attorney can act on your behalf to deal with your legal and financial matters.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of appointment. In order to determine whether you should give someone a Power of Attorney, and if so, which one is right for you and what provisions it should or should not include, you should seek legal advice. To set-up your free 20 minute telephone consultation with a lawyer, call Laila Ali at Prime Law Corporation.

The material contained in this article/video/blog is for your general information only and is not intended to be, nor should it be taken as legal advice.

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