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What Are the Four Types of Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document giving someone authority over financial assets, healthcare, or both. There are essentially four types of power of attorney. It is an important document that appoints an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” The grantor retains the right to make decisions on their own. The power of attorney can often be limited in scope to making either financial or health care decisions on the individual’s behalf. As such, it is important to choose the right type of power of attorney that is right for you. Here are the four types of power of attorney:

General Power of Attorney

Granting someone general power of attorney duties essentially gives that person the same rights the grantor has. This allows the attorney-in-fact to have the ability to make financial transactions, sign documents, and pay bills on behalf of the grantor. A general power of attorney may be a good choice in situations where the grantor is not incapacitated but may need help making financial decisions. This designation ends upon the death or incapacitation of the grantor. Under a general power of attorney, a combination of both medical and financial decisions may be designated to the attorney-in-fact.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney designation is maintained even if the grantor is incapacitated. The durable power of attorney can continue to make decisions after the grantor can longer do so. A durable power of attorney remains in effect until the grantor dies. The purpose of a durable power of attorney is to plan for medical emergencies, cognitive decline later in life, or other situations where you are no longer capable of making decisions. Suppose a durable power of attorney is not in place at the time of incapacitation. In that case, the state decides who looks after the prospective grantor’s assets and health through a conservatorship, which is granted through a court proceeding. There are two types of durable power of attorney designations: financial and medical. These designations will allow the attorney-in-fact to decide on each respective topic, depending on how the document is written. For instance, a medical durable power of attorney will make decisions on the grantor’s healthcare. 

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives the “agent” the legal authority to make medical decisions for the grantor. It is different from other types of power of attorney because it deals specifically with health care. It also only comes into effect when the principal is no longer able to make medical decisions. It is important to give these duties to someone trustworthy. A medical power of attorney can be appointed for both short-term issues, like complications during surgery while under anesthesia or long-term health issues. The agent acts within the provision of the document. This can include things like decisions on long-term care facilities, medications and treatments, and how much medical care a person would like to undergo. 

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney takes effect when the grantor becomes incapacitated and expires when the grantor dies. It is intentionally triggered by an event in the future. This type of power of attorney makes sense if the grantor expects to have medical issues that may lead to incapacitation in the future. It may also include situations where someone in the military is deployed overseas. The springing power of attorney may be set up to kick-in when the person is deployed. It is important to note that Florida no longer recognizes Springing Power of Attorney. In Florida, a Power of Attorney should be a Durable Power of Attorney with Super Powers.

Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer

Deciding on which designation is right for you can be difficult to navigate on your own. It is important to think through the process and choose the right attorney-in-fact for the need. This should be someone who can be trusted implicitly to carry out the grantor’s wishes. To that end, an experienced estate planning attorney, like those at The Mattar Firm, can help put your wishes into place. Call 239-222-2222 today. 


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