What Are All the Types of Power of Attorney?

types of power of attorney

A person’s power of attorney is incredibly important. If you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions, you need someone you trust to make decisions for you. In Pennsylvania, with estate planning documents such as advanced directives and living wills, you can declare someone to be your power of attorney if you’re incapacitated. What everyone should know is that there are multiple types of power of attorney. You can assign all of them to one person, split them between multiple people, or only use certain types.

For context, you’re considered incapacitated when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. If you can’t speak, but you are awake and aware of your surroundings, you can still make decisions for yourself. In this instance, your power of attorney would not take effect unless you demanded it.

Types of Power of Attorney

Each type of power of attorney is designed around when it comes into effect or what kinds of decisions you’re allowing someone to make for you. It allows you to pick people you trust to handle your finances, but not your medical wishes. With each type of power of attorney, they are supposed to make decisions as close as they can to what you would make. Having a detailed living will can help with that.

Durable Power of Attorney

In most cases, courts will assume your power of attorney is durable unless stated otherwise. A durable power of attorney is specifically designed to designate someone to make decisions for you after you become incapacitated. Technically, most of the following types can be a durable power of attorney. This is an overarching type.

Non-Durable Power of Attorney

This is one of the few types where it’s only active when you’re are not incapacitated. This is when you want to give someone permission to handle your estate or finances. It’s common to grant your stock broker non-durable power of attorney over your investments. You can state in your living will or advanced directive that the non-durable power of attorney should become durable if need be. This needs to be stated, it will not be assumed.

Springing Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney is for when you want to give someone a specific level of control in decision making, but only at a specific time. This time is verified by whether or not a specific condition is met. For example, if your living will says that a person is only granted power over your medical decisions when you’re incapacitated, this would be a springing power of attorney. This would also count as a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also called healthcare power of attorney, is when the person makes medical decisions for you. When you’re incapacitated, your medical power of attorney should try to follow your best wishes to the letter as best as they can. They may need to make decisions on what medical treatments, medication, surgery, end-of-life care, and/or what doctors and hospitals you’ll be administered healthcare by. This can be a durable, non-durable power of attorney, or springing power of attorney. Though, it is incredibly uncommon to be a non-durable power of attorney.

Financial Power of Attorney

Similar to a medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney only grants a person the ability to make specific decisions for you. This includes paying your bills and expenses, making bank deposits and withdrawals, collecting and managing your retirement benefits, selling or renting your real estate, handling your stocks, and filing your taxes. You can assign one aspect of your finances to a power of attorney. You can also designate someone as your non-durable financial power of attorney. Having someone else make financial decisions for you while you are not incapacitated is not uncommon.

General Power of Attorney

When you want to grant all the decision-making power you can to one person, it’s called a general power of attorney. This means that you have one person who can make medical and financial decisions for you.

Contact Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam to Determine Which Types of Power of Attorney Are Best for You

When you’re planning for the future, you need to know what all of your options are. This decision can affect the longevity of your life if you’re hurt and/or your finances should you recover or have a family to take care of. The estate planning attorneys at MVSK are always ready to help, so contact us today.

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