Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a written document which one person (principal) uses to empower another person (attorney-in-fact) to act on his or her behalf. There are three basic types of powers of attorney, each serving a unique purpose:

  • General power of attorney – A general power of attorney authorizes someone to act on your behalf in different circumstances when you are unable to handle them.
  • Limited power of attorney A limited power of attorney, sometimes called a "special" power of attorney, authorizes someone to act on your behalf only in specific situations. For example, you may authorize someone to sell a specific item for you, such as a car.
  • Medical power of attorney A healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you. This is different from a living will, which only allows you to express your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures.

All of these types of powers of attorney can be made durable. A durable power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to exercise the powers you give them even after you have become incapacitated. The death of the principal terminates a power of attorney whether or not it is durable. Another alternative is to create a "springing power of attorney." This power only goes into effect when you become disabled.


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