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A Power of Attorney is a written and signed legal document that gives authority to another person to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so for yourself.

It’s important to make sure you choose the right type of Power Of Attorney to meet your needs.

The following kinds of power of attorney offer different types of protection in the event of an emergency.

A Durable Power of Attorney is signed by the Principle (donor) and allows the Attorney (Donee) to continue acting on the Principle’s behalf if they become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney ends automatically when the Principle dies, it can also be revoked in writing as long as the Principle is competent.

On the other hand a Non-Durable Power of Attorney expires if the Principle becomes incapacitated or dies.

Medical Power of Attorney allows the Principle to name a health care agent — someone who will make medical decisions for them if they cannot do so. The Attorney will also ensure that the health care providers give him/her the medical care specified in the signed document. The Medical Power Of Attorney can only be used if the Principle has been declared mentally incompetent by physician(s).

General Power of Attorney gives the Attorney broad power to act on your behalf — making any financial, business, real estate, and legal decisions that would otherwise be your responsibility. Given the extensive control it affords your agent, you may only want to use this kind of power of attorney for a short period when you physically or mentally cannot manage your affairs. For example,  during an extended period of travel outside of the country. A general power of attorney expires upon your incapacitation (unless it’s durable) or death.

Special Power of Attorney. In contrast with a general power of attorney, a special Power Of Attorney gives an Attorney the power to act on your behalf, but only for specific purposes.

This type of power of attorney expires once the specific task has been completed or at the time stated in the written document.

You can create several Special Powers of Attorneys for different agents — granting each person different powers.

A conditional power of attorney only goes into effect if a certain event or medical condition (typically incapacitation) or event specified in the POA occurs. For example, military personnel may make a conditional power of attorney that goes into effect when they’re deployed overseas. It ends at a specified time, when you become incapacitated, or upon death.

In conclusion therefore, these differences will help you understand and confidently choose the right document to include in your business transactions or estate planning.

If you would like to know how the powers of attorney can help you plan for the unexpected read my other article.

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