Establishing power of attorney privileges is an essential element of estate planning. POA authorizes another person to make decisions related to finances and healthcare for someone else in the event they are unable to make decisions on their own.
Before bestowing power of attorney privileges it is crucial to understand how the process works and the rights the person will be given. The person appointed to this position ought to be capable of making difficult decisions that might go against what other family members want.
Individuals who are granted authority to make decisions must be at least 18 years of age. It’s important to choose a person who will remain true to decisions pertaining to medical and financial transactions.
There are five different types of power of attorney rights and responsibilities differ based on powers authorized. Each consists of two individuals that include the ‘Principal’ and ‘Attorney-in-Fact.’ The Principal is the person that sets up the contract and the attorney-in-fact is the person who carries out the duties on their behalf.
Durable Power of Attorney is the most common type of contract. This legal document authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make financial and medical decisions based on directives provided by the Principal. Powers remain in effect until the Principal dies or until powers are revoked.
The next most common document is the Non-Durable Power of Attorney which authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make decisions for specific types of transactions. Non-durable POA is generally used when the Principal must undergo surgery or some type of medical treatment that might prevent them from being able to make decisions. Powers are granted for a specific transaction and expire once the transaction is completed.
A Limited Power of Attorney is typically used to grant authorization to the attorney-in-fact to sell or transfer real estate owned by the Principal. This document revokes privileges when the transaction is completed.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is needed to authorize a person to make medical decisions on behalf of the Principal It is vital to discuss the types of medical procedures wanted or not wanted with the person who will be in charge of making decisions to ensure they will abide by your desires.
People often feel uncomfortable discussing these topics, but it’s best to openly talk about what kind of treatments should be given or avoided if the unthinkable happens. If a person is adamant about not being placed on life support if declared brain dead, they need to make their decisions known in a healthcare POA. Otherwise, medical personnel must abide by state laws and provide life saving treatment.
A Springing Power of Attorney is required to authorize release of medical records and information. The attorney-in-fact is required to obtain court authorization before they can make decisions on behalf of the Principal.
It’s recommended to talk with a lawyer before drafting Power of Attorney documents. Lawyers can advise which document is best suited for the situation and help Principal’s select an appropriate attorney-in-fact to carry out required duties.