A power of attorney (POA) gives a person the ability to make decisions for a senior loved one who cannot make decisions independently. Along with assigned duties, the person given the authority is also responsible for maintaining documents and records for various aspects of the older family member’s matters.
Types of Powers of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney: The appointed individual accepts decision-making ability immediately after signing the document. The authority gives the individual the legal right to manage one or more areas of interest.
Springing Power of Attorney: The family member assumes authority when a senior family member becomes seriously injured, ill, or mentally incapacitated. The responsibility might also take effect on a specific date or event.
Non-Durable Power of Attorney: This type of POA assumes the responsibility of legal transactions in the event the senior cannot be physically present. However, the authority typically becomes null and void should the older adult become mentally incapacitated.
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General Power of Attorney: The responsibilities involved for someone with this type of POA covers a broad range of powers. The individual might handle financial matters, legal matters, and make medical decisions. A general power of attorney is often appointed to manage the estate and financial matters in the event of a senior’s death.
Special Power of Attorney: The authority given in this type of POA involves assigning special duties to be performed on behalf of the senior, such as managing or selling real estate. Other responsibilities might entail collecting debts, handling business transactions, or making medical care decisions.
Health Care Power of Attorney: The responsibilities involved specifically include making decisions concerning medical care for an older adult if he or she becomes mentally incompetent or is rendered unconscious.
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Choosing a Power of Attorney
Seniors must choose a trusted family member or another individual to take the role of POA, as the person appointed will handle various personal affairs. Characteristics of a potential power of attorney should include:
- Sharing the senior’s values and vows to act in his or her best interest
- Ability to pay attention to details
- Willingness to make the commitment and comprehend the duties involved
- Possible background in business or finances
- Ability to work with accountants, attorneys, healthcare providers, and other professionals
Obtaining a POA
The senior and the chosen family member typically visit an attorney experienced in estate and financial planning to create the necessary paperwork. This is the most conventional option.
Family members can also go online to obtain legal services. However, you must take completion and delivery time into consideration. Some services may submit the documents to a paralegal for review before they are ready and put into effect. Online services may also cost more. Whichever avenue family members decide to take, the finished documents must be notarized by a public notary. Notaries are often found in banks and government or legal offices.
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