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Types of Power of Attorney

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Whenever you hand over your power, you should be especially concerned about who you’re handing your power over to and how much power you’re handing over! A power of attorney may be just as necessary as it is risky, so in order to take advantage of this sometimes invaluable commodity, let’s take a look at the types of power of attorney.

First off: what is power of attorney? There might be a time when you are literally separated from your property and/or you are simply unavailable to take care of your important affairs. This is when you will need a power of attorney. The person you grant power of attorney is your agent and he or she must be somebody you completely trust to handle your property and affairs honestly, wisely, efficiently, and to your best interest.

There are two basic types of power of attorney.

General power of attorney

General power of attorney is practically all-encompassing and it is extremely hard to revoke. It’s rarely recommendable that you give your agent, no matter how trusted, a general power of attorney. Because once you do, your agent will be obligated to manage just about anything that you supposedly can’t do at the time the power is granted, but otherwise would do – like pay bills or borrow money, etc. A general power of attorney comes in handy in the most desperate situation where there truly is a “power vacuum.” Not only will you want to have complete faith in your agent’s intentions when granting general power, but you also must trust in his or her decision making abilities.

Special power of attorney

Special power of attorney is what is more commonly given to an agent, especially in the business arena. With special power of attorney, the agent has limited power to handle a specific task, like selling a car for instance. Special power of attorney happens to be easier to revoke than general power of attorney. You might be interested in granting a special power of attorney to an agent for health and/or financial purposes.

There are still some other power of attorney types, that while less common and more technical, may deserve your attention. They include: durable and springing power of attorney. Both of these powers of attorney can be added onto general or special power of attorney and they basically retain your agent’s power even if you become disabled or incapacitated.

Choosing your agent might be one of the most important processes you go through in your lifetime. The consequences will be tremendous and that’s why it’s so important to understand the different types of power of attorney. Remember that general power of attorney and durable power of attorney is not always advisable, as it takes a lot of your autonomy away and leaves you little room to fight back if your wishes aren’t honored. Special power of attorney makes a lot more sense, but there may be cases where you need your agent to have general power of attorney.

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