What is a Power of Attorney and Why Do You Need One?

power of attorney document with judge's gavel
April 12, 2024 Estate Planning

As you grow older, your chances of experiencing a health crisis and becoming ill increase. Therefore, it’s important to have plans in place in case you are unable to make decisions for yourself. That’s where a power of attorney (POA) comes in. Let’s explore what a POA is and why you should have one.

What Is a POA?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the power to act on your behalf in the event of illness or disability. They may have broad legal authority or limited authority to make decisions regarding your property, finances, or medical care. A general power of attorney acts on your behalf for any and all matters that are allowed by their state, while a limited POA can act in specific matters explicitly stated in the document. However, if you want the power of attorney to remain in effect after your health deteriorates in the event you become incapacitated, you’ll want to sign a durable power of attorney (DPOA).

A Durable Power of Attorney

Even if you become mentally incapacitated, a DPOA controls certain legal, property, and financial matters. You can also sign a durable power of attorney for healthcare, also known as a healthcare power of attorney (HPOA). This allows the POA to make health-related decisions and legally binds them to oversee your medical care decisions. You can also sign a DPOA for financial matters.

Why Should You Have a POA?

Although there are many good reasons to have a power of attorney, the main benefit is ensuring someone will take care of your affairs in the event you become incapacitated. Many risks come with signing a legal document like this, so it’s crucial to choose a trusted family member, close friend, or dependable professional to be your power of attorney.

Signing a power of attorney is an important step in any estate plan, especially when planning for your long-term care. Tell us about your situation, and we’ll connect you with a qualified professional who can walk you through the entire process!

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