Power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. This person is called your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.”
There are different types of power of attorney, and each one grants your agent different powers. Some powers of attorney allow your agent to handle only financial matters, while others give them the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf.
You can give someone power of attorney for a specific task, like selling your house, or you can give them general power of attorney, which allows them to handle any legal matter on your behalf.
You can revoke a power of attorney at any time, as long as you’re still mentally competent.
If you need to grant power of attorney for any reason, our attorneys are the legal agents you can rely on.
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What Are the 4 Types of Power of Attorney?
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf, even if you become incapacitated.
People typically choose to give their attorney durable power of attorney in cases where they may be unable to make financial or medical decisions for themselves, such as if they become mentally or physically ill.
Examples of cases where you may want to grant someone durable power of attorney include:
- You have a chronic illness and want someone to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated,
- You’re getting older and want to plan for the possibility that you may not be able to make decisions for yourself in the future,
- You have a child with special needs and want to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf when you can no longer do so.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf in specific situations.
Unlike a durable power of attorney, a general power of attorney does not remain in effect if you become incapacitated.
People typically choose to give their attorney general power of attorney when they will be unavailable or unable to handle certain affairs themselves for a designated time or for a specific, finite reason. Examples would be going on an extended vacation, being deployed overseas, or being hospitalized for an extended period of time.
Special or Limited Power of Attorney
Special or limited power of attorney, as the name implies, gives an attorney specific powers that are limited to a specific area.
For example, someone might want to grant someone special power of attorney specifically to sell their home or some other piece of real estate.
Another example may be where someone is incapacitated and cannot physically sign documents, but needs someone to be able to sign on their behalf for a specific transaction.
Springing Durable Power of Attorney
“Springing” power of attorney applies in some states. It is essentially durable power of attorney which becomes effective only after something takes place, such as the incapacity of the person who granted it being determined by a physician.
Some people have both types in their estate planning portfolio. It is important to discuss with your attorney which type makes sense for your particular situation.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Power of Attorney
When Do You Need Power of Attorney?
You may need to appoint someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself due to physical or mental incapacity. For example, if you become severely injured in an accident and are unable to communicate, someone with Durable Power of Attorney would be able to handle your affairs.
You may also want to consider appointing someone as your Power of Attorney even if you are not currently incapacitated. This can be helpful if you anticipate being unavailable or unable to handle your affairs in the future, such as if you are going to be deployed overseas.
Which type of Power of Attorney should I use?
The type of Power of Attorney you use will depend on your situation. For example, if you need someone to make financial decisions on your behalf, you would use a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. If you need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, you would use a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
Speak to your attorney regarding which attorney forms you will need — he or she will make sure the right paperwork is signed.
Learn more about types of Power of Attorney here.
Can I give someone Power of Attorney without them knowing?
No. The person you name as your agent must agree to the appointment.
What are the duties of an attorney-in-fact?
An attorney-in-fact is a person who is given the legal authority to act on another person’s behalf. The duties of an attorney-in-fact can vary depending on the nature of the relationship between the person and the attorney-in-fact, but generally include making decisions on behalf of the person and taking actions to carry out those decisions.
What is the difference between a Durable and Springing Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is effective as soon as it is signed, while a Springing Power of Attorney only becomes effective after a certain event, such as incapacity, takes place.
How long does a Power of Attorney last?
A Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time by the person who granted it, so long as they are mentally competent. It also typically terminates upon the death of the grantor.
Can I name more than one Agent in my Power of Attorney?
Yes, you can name multiple agents, and you can specify whether they must act together or independently.
Do I need to have an attorney prepare my Power of Attorney?
No, but it is often a good idea. The document must meet state law requirements and must be signed and witnessed properly to be valid.
What powers can I give my Agent under a Power of Attorney?
You can give your agent very broad powers, or you can limit their authority to specific tasks. You can also specify whether the powers granted are to take effect immediately, or only after you become incapacitated.
Does power of attorney end at death?
Yes. A power of attorney is automatically revoked at death, unless it specifically states that it survives your death.
How do I revoke a Power of Attorney?
You can revoke a Power of Attorney at any time, as long as you are still competent to make your own decisions. You must notify your agent in writing that you are revoking the document, and send copies of the revocation to anyone who might be relying on the Power of Attorney.
How do I get Power of Attorney in Idaho?
Getting Power of Attorney in Idaho is a two-step process. First, you must fill out the necessary paperwork. Second, you must have the document witnessed and notarized.