There are a few things that nearly everyone needs to include: beneficiaries, asset itemization, executor of the estate and valid signatures for proof of its authenticity. One of the many things people don’t realize is included in a will is a power of attorney (POA).
What is a power of attorney? Here’s what you should know:
General, financial and medical POA
A power of attorney handles any decisions the testator would normally make, but isn’t able to do so if they were currently unable to. Anyone above 18 years of age or older, and is in sound mind, can be a POA. There are three types of POA:
- Medical POA: This POA would handle all decisions for medical procedures. In other words, if a testator was incapacitated (for example, after a car crash) and needed immediate surgery, the power of attorney would make that decision on behalf of the testator.
- Financial POA: This POA would handle any financial matters, such as paying debts, rent or utility payments on behalf of the testator.
- General POA: If a testator believes that one person is responsible and trustworthy enough for both medical and financial POA, they may designate them as a general POA.
Most people have a “durable” POA. Durable POAs handle all affairs until the testator dies or their position is revoked.
Alternatively, a testator can assign a “springing” (or limited) POA. A springing POA can make decisions on behalf of the testator for a limited time while the testator is conscious. Springing POAs are mainly used for the purchase of real estate while the testator is away on a trip.
Assigning the right person as a power of attorney isn’t easy. You may need to consult legal help when planning your estate.