Power of attorney agents have the power to make important medical or financial decisions on your behalf. You should choose an agent that you know well and trust to handle these responsibilities.
Agents don’t have unlimited power. You have the option to limit your agent’s powers in several ways when you draft your power of attorney document.
Medical vs. Financial Power of Attorney
Medical powers of attorney give your agent the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. These decisions could include:
- What type of treatment you will receive
- Which care providers to use
- Other decisions that aren’t covered in your advanced healthcare directive
Financial powers of attorney give the agent control over your finances. They could complete the following tasks as your agent:
- Paying bills
- Transferring, withdrawing, or depositing funds
- Selling assets
- Getting loans
Either type of agent has powers that are limited to a specific domain. A healthcare power of attorney agent won’t have control over your financial matters and vice versa.
Springing vs. Durable Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney gives the agent power once a specific event—such as the principal’s incapacity—takes place. Until you become incapacitated, the agent does not have the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf.
A durable power of attorney gives the agent immediate power. They can handle your finances while you are healthy, and they keep their powers of you lose capacity.
General vs. Limited Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney gets to “step into your shoes” and do anything you could do yourself. They could sell assets, make gifts, or invest your money.
A limited power of attorney is only granted specific powers. The document can specifically list the agent’s powers or state powers that the agent does not have.
Customize Your Power of Attorney
There are also some powers that the agent can never have. For example, a power of attorney agent cannot modify your last will and testament for you. You are the only person who can sign and attest your will.
There are several ways to limit or enhance the power of attorney agent’s powers. You should consult an estate planning attorney to draft a power of attorney agreement that suits your needs.
King Law handles estate planning matters in North and South Carolina, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Follow us on Facebook for more information and updates on legal issues.