What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA), is a document that allows you to give another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf. Think carefully about who you choose to take on this responsibility–make sure it is someone you trust. There are several types of powers of attorney that cover different types of situations.
Limited Power of Attorney
When you create a limited or general power of attorney, it is usually limited to a very specific purpose such as signing business documents or closing documents on a home sale when you are not available to sign yourself, in-person. Once the task is completed, the limited power of attorney usually is no longer valid–it expires.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney lasts longer and has a broader reach than the limited power of attorney. The person creating the agreement (grantor) must be of sound mind and over 18 years old to give someone else (agent) to power to make decisions in the best interest of the grantor. The POA lasts until the death of the grantor or until it is revoked (canceled). This type of POA allows the agent to manage every thing listed in the POA, which may include paying bills, managing property, making medical decisions, making housing decisions, and end of life decisions. This POA may go into effect immediately or may go into effect when the elderly or incapacitated person is unable to make decisions on their own.
This is document contains written instructions about future medical care when you are unable to make decisions at the time of a medical emergency. When you create this directive, consider someone, often an adult child, who would be able to handle a critical decision during an emotional time. The advance directives are used for end-of-life decision including “do not resuscitate” or “no artificial means” decisions.
If you have questions…
If you have questions about what documents you need to deal with your medical and financial issues on a temporary basis or at the time of your death, you may want to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can assist with making a will and the documents discussed above. These documents can be prepared as a complete package or individually, depending on your needs.
This is where Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) comes in. LRS is a non-profit public service with screened and qualified lawyers who have experience in all types of estate planning and probate matters. They will help put in place the documents you need to protect your family and your assets. When you contact the LRS, intake staff will carefully listen to you about what you need to have done and refer you to a lawyer or another resource that might better fit your needs. If you have any questions and wish to speak with a legal expert, simply call (512) 472-8303.