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Understanding Powers of Attorney: Types and Classifications

Advanced directives are legal documents that specify your preferences for medical, financial, and legal care in an emergency. These documents authorize others to act on your behalf in certain legal situations. One of the most common advanced directives is power of attorney. A Power of attorney legally allows a person you choose to make decisions on your behalf in several capacities. Below, we discuss the various types of powers of attorney to help you determine when and what kind of power of attorney you need. 

What is a Power of Attorney? 

According to Florida Statute 709.2102(9), a power of attorney grants someone authority (the agent) to act in the place of someone else (the principal). Also known as a POA, this legal document has a specific and defined purpose. POAs allow someone else to make decisions or perform tasks on your behalf when you cannot do so. 

When Do You Need a Power of Attorney?

You need a power of attorney anytime you want someone to act on your behalf to perform tasks and manage your affairs in a legal capacity. Circumstances when powers of attorney are utilized include when you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, suffer a debilitating injury, become incapacitated, cannot perform specific tasks, or cannot attend events the power of attorney refers to. 

POA Limitations 

Some tasks agents cannot perform, regardless of the type of power of attorney enacted. Agents of a power of attorney cannot: 

  • Vote on behalf of the principal.
  • Sign affidavits or statements that assert the principal’s knowledge of facts. 
  • Practice law on behalf of the principal.
  • Create or revoke a will. 
  • Perform specialized services in place of the principal.
  • Become a guardian, conservator, or trustee that benefits the principal.

POA Categories

There are several types of POAs you may decide to put into place:

Medical 

When you’ve been seriously injured and become incapacitated, you’ll want to give someone else authority to make medical decisions for you. This is when you’d want to create a medical POA. Medical POAs are often used to name a healthcare surrogate, which is someone specifically designated to make medical choices about treatments and care in your place. 

Financial 

Even if you’re incapacitated, your financial affairs still need to be taken care of. Financial POAs authorize someone to handle specific aspects of your finances, such as paying bills and managing stocks when you can’t manage them yourself. 

Legal 

Legal POAs allow someone to perform a legal task for you, like signing a contract on your behalf or creating certain legal documents. They can be authorized for a single task, like during a house closing. Legal POAs only go into effect for a specific task and have a limited duration.

Domestic 

Domestic POAs allow someone else to manage your day-to-day responsibilities on your behalf. This could include maintaining your home, arranging landscaping services, and paying utility bills.

Power of Attorney Classifications

 Here are the types of POA classifications:  

Durable 

Most POAs are only valid when you are conscious. However, a durable power of attorney can be put in place if you have a medical emergency and cannot make decisions yourself.

General 

As their name suggests, general POAs give agents authority to perform a broad range of medical, domestic, and financial tasks. To properly define what an agent can and cannot do, the POA must specify the duties the agent has the authority to perform. They have no set time frame.

Limited 

Limited POAs give agents authority for one specific task in a limited timeframe. Limited POAs are beneficial for tasks such as closing a real estate transaction in another state or opening certain financial accounts. Once the task is completed, the POA is no longer valid.

Creating a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney must be written, notarized, and signed by you and two witnesses. The document must identify the principal, the agent, and the responsibilities the agent is authorized to perform. In most cases, POAs are effective immediately unless a triggering event is noted in the document.

Every & Stack: Estate Planning Attorneys in Daytona Beach 

When a loved one falls ill or gets injured, they may become vulnerable to financial losses and serious threats to their health. A power of attorney that is carefully crafted can give you and your loved one a greater sense of peace and security. Powers of attorney should be a valuable part of your estate plan. Contact our Daytona Beach law firm at 386-255-1925  for a free consultation to discuss how powers of attorney can be beneficial when handling your estate. 

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