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What you need to know about power of attorney

One of the most important parts of an estate plan is who you choose to handle your affairs. You will be placing a great amount of power in this person’s hands to act on your behalf. Because of this, you will want to make sure this person is trustworthy and capable of handling the job.

The size of your estate and your health conditions may play a part in making your choice of power of attorney. You may decide it is beneficial to make specific designations. Here are some elements of power of attorney that you should know.

General power of attorney

A general power of attorney will handle your affairs and make decisions while you are still alive. The agent you choose will be able to perform nearly any act in your place including:

  • Bank transactions
  • Claim settlements
  • Filing taxes
  • Managing real estate

A general power of attorney arrangement will come to an end once you pass away or become incapacitated. At that time, the person you have chosen to be your general power of attorney will no longer have any authority over your affairs.

Durable

Designating someone as a durable power of attorney means they will have all the same powers as a general power of attorney, except by being durable, they will continue to have power of attorney even if you become incapacitated.

Springing

This type of power of attorney only becomes effective when you become incapacitated. This means that you are only giving authority to someone else the moment you are classified as incapacitated. Once this designation springs into effect, the person you have chosen assumes the same role as a durable power of attorney.

Power of attorney for health care

This will authorize your agent to be in charge of making critical health care decisions if you become incapacitated and are not able to make decisions yourself.

As you can see, choosing the right power of attorney is very important based on the level of responsibility you are handing them. You will want to choose someone that you not only trust but is comfortable handling the decisions that are best for you.

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