A Power of Attorney can be a useful tool in which you may name or delegate another person to act for you in making decisions or doing things on your behalf. We can advise you as to what situations will probably require a power of attorney and can prepare the required documents to be certain that you are protected from unnecessary Court intervention. The Law Offices of Laura D. Frye Ltd. has over 10 years experience in all phases of Power of Attorney in the state of Arizona & Illinois. Call & schedule a free consultation today!
What exactly is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document by which one person gives authority to another person to act on their behalf and to do things that you could do while you are alive. The Power of Attorney ends upon your death. The person who grants the power, and authorizes another person is referred to as the principal. The person who is authorized to act under the terms of the document on behalf of the principal is referred to as the agent or the attorney in fact.
Issues included under a power of attorney may be wide ranging. In most cases, a power of attorney is utilized to deal with issues pertaining to business, finances, or medical issues.
Types of Powers of Attorney – Arizona & Illinois Law
Not all powers of attorney are the same. In fact, they differ not only on the subject matter they address, but also on the conditions under which the power becomes exercisable. Here are examples of various types of powers, and how they can be used:
- General Powers vs. Durable Powers - A general power of attorney grants to the agent or attorney-in-fact complete authority to act on behalf of the principal immediately upon execution relating to all matters expressly set forth in the general power of attorney. The general power of attorney can grant broad powers or powers that are very limited, or anything in between. A general power of attorney expires if and when the principal becomes incapacitated. If the principal desires to have the power of attorney to survive the incapacity of the principal, then the power of attorney is called “durable”. A power of attorney can be general, durable, or both general and durable. The express language of the power of attorney controls.
- Durable & General Financial Powers - A financial power of attorney allows you to designate an agent to handle financial matters on your behalf. This could involve anything from paying household bills, to buying or selling property, to collecting your Social Security benefits, to paying taxes, and so on. Whether the power of attorney is general, durable or both general and durable should be set forth in detail in the document. In some cases, it may make sense to make the power of attorney effective immediately. In some other cases, it may make sense to make the power effective only in the event of the principal’s incapacity. In the latter case, it is referred to as a durable power of attorney that springs into use only after the occurrence of incapacity of the principal. The power of attorney can also define what constitutes “incapacity” thereby not requiring the agent or attorney in fact to look outside the power of attorney when determining the definition of what constitutes the “incapacity” of the principal.
- Durable Health Care Powers - A durable health care power allows you to name a specific person to make decisions concerning your health care in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions. The document should set forth your wishes and provide instructions to the agent concerning medical treatment.
- Medical Records General Powers of Attorney - Medical records are closely guarded by health care providers, and federal law. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 specifically limits disclosure of those records and related information. What happens if you become ill, your agent or attorney in fact needs to make medical decisions regarding your treatment, and the agent cannot get access to your medical records? A general power of attorney for medical records designates your agent or attorney-in-fact with authority to access your medical records under HIPAA so that that agent can make better, more informed decisions regarding your medical care.
These are just some examples of the more common types of powers of attorney that may help in the planning and administration of your estate. Contact The Law Offices of Laura D. Frye Ltd. today to schedule your free consultation.