A power of attorney could be the most important document you could ever sign in your life and thus needs to be taken seriously. In short, it is a document that allows someone else to perform certain actions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. This person can be a lawyer, organization, family member, or anyone else you trust to handle your affairs. There are a few different types of power of attorney, and each one has its own abilities.

General Power of Attorney – This is by far the most powerful power of attorney- thus, incredible thought, care, and consideration should go into creating this document. A general power of attorney can perform a wide (almost endless) variety of actions on your behalf. These actions may include many things such as business interests, settling claims, estate planning, bank and investment transactions, and more.

Special Power of Attorney – While similar to a general power of attorney, a special power of attorney grants less power to the person appointed. While a general power of attorney can perform many different actions, a special power of attorney can only perform specified actions laid out in the document. This type of power of attorney is helpful when you want someone to have some control, but not total control. If you want, you can even have multiple different special power of attorneys, each with their own field of expertise. This has positive and negative sides to it and should be researched before exercising.

Health Care Power of Attorney – This is someone who can make medical decisions for you when you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself. This is often created when someone is about to undergo a dangerous operation or foresees serious possible health concerns in the future.

Durable Power of Attorney – This is not a type on its own, rather a stipulation that you can add to one of the other three. In general, if one of the other three power of attorney documents are created and in effect, they will be null and voided if the grantor of the power becomes unable to perform due to incapacity. By adding the word “durable” to any of the three powers of attorney, the document remains effective, even in if the grantor is incapacity, until the death of the grantor. Upon the death of the grantor all powers of attorney become void.

In all cases, serious thought must go into the creation of the document. First, you must trust the person you are granting power of attorney to. This person will have power above everyone else to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. If something goes horribly wrong, however, you can revoke your power of attorney whenever you want, provided that you are deemed mentally competent to do so. Second, the document must be signed and notarized for it to be in effect. Make sure you have someone, who is preferably a lawyer, go over your document before you sign it. Third, be sure to fill out the correct type of power of attorney document. Do not give more or less power than you want or need to – look over the document carefully.

The Law Office of Jonathan E. Fortman has aided many people in estate planning. Our team of hard working and diligent members would be more than happy to work with you on any of your estate planning or power of attorney needs.

Law Office of Jonathan E. Fortman, LLC