Powers of Attorney – Everyone in Pennsylvania Should Be Sure to Have these Crucial Documents
November 16, 2012

Have you ever wondered what would happen to you should you become incapacitated? If you could no longer make decisions for yourself due to health problems? Documents that help in this kind of situation are called Powers of Attorney or POAs. And they are a crucial part of proper estate planning.

There are, essentially, three kinds of POAs.

  1. General Power of Attorney – This type of POA allows another person to act for you in all kinds of circumstances, in specific situations that you choose. For example, if you are in a car accident and end up in a coma, a general power of attorney allows someone to pay your bills during the time when you cannot handle your matters. Perhaps you want someone to be able to pay your bills, but not be able to make gifts or sell property. This kind of POA can be very specific about what someone may, and may not, do on your behalf.
  2. Healthcare Power of Attorney – This kind of POA enables others to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to do so for yourself. Completing one of these kinds of documents not only provides for the ability for others to handle your care, but it also lets them know your desires. Most hospitals these days will ask if you have a POA before you go in for surgery.
  3. Special Power of Attorney – This POA allows for others to act for you in only very specific situations. For example, when you sell a house, you might give a temporary POA to your attorney.

Powers of Attorney can be durable, which means that should you become incapacitated, they remain in effect. Since, frequently, POAs are drafted for exactly this kind of reason, it is important that they be written correctly so they will be available to those you trust to make certain you are cared for during a difficult time.

On the other hand, since POAs give other people substantial power over your life, it is crucial that you choose the right people to be your POAs, as well as the right attorney to draft them.

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