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Monday, January 23, 2017

Types of Powers of Attorney in Alabama

Which power of attorney do I need?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to give someone else the legal right to act on your behalf.  A POA can be general, providing the named person with power to make all decisions for you, or limited, allowing control by someone else for just a specified matter.  Setting up a power of attorney is an important part of your estate plan, but many people are confused as to which power of attorney they need.  There are several types of powers of attorney, including:

  1. Medical power of attorney:  Using a medical power of attorney, you can designate someone else to make decisions about your health care.  Generally, this power of attorney will only take effect in the event you become unconscious or incapacitated.
  2. Financial power of attorney:  With a financial POA, you will name someone else to handle your money or property.  Financial powers of attorney can be drafted to take effect immediately, or only in the event you become incapacitated.  They can similarly grant extensive or limited power to the named individual.
  3. General power of attorney:  A general POA grants the named person power to perform most of the acts that you can, like signing checks, purchasing items, and selling property, and much more.
  4. Durable power of attorney:  A durable power of attorney will continue even after you become incapacitated, whereas a regular power of attorney will cease.
  5. Springing power of attorney:  Springing POAs take effect when some named event happens, usually when you become incapacitated.  

Many powers of attorney will combine several of these features.  For example, a durable medical power of attorney is a springing power of attorney that allows your agent to make medical decisions when you cannot.  No matter your age, it is important that you consider creating one or more powers of attorney as a part of your overall estate plan.  Without an estate plan, your loved ones may not be able to make critical medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you are suddenly rendered incapacitated.

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