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If you’re like most people, you aren’t eager to spend time thinking about what would happen if you became unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age. However, if you don’t do at least a little bit of planning — writing down your wishes about the kinds of […]

Your health care directives — including your living will and power of attorney for health care — might be the most important estate planning documents you ever make. Giving your family clear, written direction about your end-of-life wishes can spare them anguish — and make sure you get the kind of care you want. With […]

The 4 legal documents every adult should have One part of being responsible to your family and friends is having the right legal documents in place to protect them if something happens to you. Most people procrastinate doing this because they think it’ll be expensive or time consuming–and, of course, preparing for tragedy isn’t cheery.…

Powers of Attorney: Crucial Documents for Caregiving

What comes to mind when you hear the words “power of attorney”? An important legal document? A license to steal? The key to successful caregiving? All of the above?

If you thought “all of the above,” you’re on the right track. The power of attorney is a powerful legal document. It can give tremendous authority to another person, including the right to access your bank accounts and to make decisions for you. And, in times of crisis or declining health, a power of attorney is the essential tool in your caregiver’s toolkit.

Types of powers of attorney

A power of attorney names a person who can act on your behalf; this person is called your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” Before you create a power of attorney, you should know your options and which ones your home state allows.

Specific powers of attorney limit your agent to handling only certain tasks, like paying bills or selling a house, and generally on a temporary basis.

General powers of attorney give your agent broad authority (they can “step into your shoes” and handle all your legal and financial affairs). These documents can end that authority at the time you become incapacitated.

Durable powers of attorney may be limited or give your agent broad authority to handle all your legal and financial affairs, but your agent keeps the authority even if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. This means that your family may not have to ask for a court to intervene if you have a medical crisis or have severe cognitive decline, like late stage dementia.

Sometimes, medical decision-making is included in a durable power of attorney for health care. This may be addressed in a separate document that is solely for health care, like a health care surrogate designation. Some states recognize “springing” durable powers of attorney, which means the agent can start using it only once you are incapacitated. Some states don’t, which means the day you sign the durable power of attorney, your agent can use the document.

Download your State’s Power of Attorney Form here.

Content retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/info-2019/types-of-power-of-attorney.html.

What comes to mind when you hear the words “power of attorney"? An important legal document? A license to steal? The key to successful caregiving? All of the above? If you thought “all of the above,” you're on the right track. The power of attorney is a powerful legal document. It can give tremendous authority [...]

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