If you cannot make decisions on your own behalf, whether that’s due to aging, injury or disease, you need someone else to make them for you. This person is your agent, and the right to make these decisions is given to them through a power of attorney designation.
If you’re interested in using this legal document, there are a few different ways you can do so. The most wide-ranging option is just a general power of attorney. This gives someone overall control to make any and all decisions with your best interests in mind — if you need them to do so. However, most people prefer to limit these abilities a bit more than that.
A specific power of attorney
A limited power of attorney may apply to a specific case. You may want to give someone the ability to sell your house and property, for instance, but nothing else.
A financial power of attorney
A similar option is to grant someone the power to make all your financial decisions. They could sell your home, access your bank accounts, pay your taxes and handle other things of this nature on your behalf.
A medical power of attorney
The third area to consider is designating someone to make healthcare decisions for you. This need is common for those who have disabilities or serious diseases and ailments that render them unable to talk to the medical team on their own. A living will may offer instructions to the doctors, but a power of attorney gives your agent the ability to respond to your changing needs in real time.
Setting up your estate plan
No matter how you want to use it, a power of attorney can be a key part of your estate planning. Be sure you know how to get it all set up to your satisfaction.