What do I need to know about “Power of Attorney”?

Power of AttorneyDid you know that there are different types of Power of Attorney? To put in simple terms, the concept of “Power of Attorney” is that one person agrees to allow another person to represent them in legal matters. However, there are so many different situations that can come into play, with different laws that apply, so it stands to reason that there are different types of Power of Attorney agreements.

It’s important to be careful to whom you agree to give legal authority over yourself. Due to the gravity of the situation, the grantor (the individual that wants to give their power to attorney to another person) must be able to demonstrate that they are in a healthy mental state, qualified to give away this power. This is referred to as the capacity of the grantor. Depending on the location or institutions involved, this agreement may required to be in writing.

The main types of power of attorney are as follows:

  • Durable power of attorney
  • Health care power of attorney
  • Advance health care directive
  • Springing power of attorney

The first type, “durable power of attorney,” is also known as “power of attorney with durable provisions” in the United States or “enduring power of attorney” elsewhere. It simply means that the authority granted will last until the grantor’s death.

Secondly, someone with the “health care power of attorney” is also known as a “health care proxy”, and can make health-care decisions for the grantor, up to and including terminating care and life support. Details about end-of-life matters can be specified by the grantor.

An “advance health care directive” is better known as a “living will” and means that the grantor does not actually choose another person to make important decisions for them, but instead dictates their wishes long before their death, and records them in a document.

The “springing power of attorney” means that a grantor has chosen an individual to give durable power of attorney, but the authority will not begin until the grantor becomes incapacitated. This is a good option for those who want to remain in control of their lives but who also want to be prepared for the worst.

If you have additional questions about power of attorney details, your best recourse is to contact your lawyer or legal team for assistance.

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