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Powers of Attorney are appointments of one person to act on behalf of another in a Principal-Agent relationship. The appointment does not have to be accepted – it can be renounced by the Agent. There are many types of specific or limited Powers of Attorney. The two general types of durable Powers of Attorney common in estate planning are: financial and medical.
Powers of Attorney can apply when you are incapacitated. Therefore, it is the Powers of Attorney that are more likely to benefit you personally than your Will or Trust, which are primarily to benefit your heirs.
At my law office in Bellevue, Washington, I offer comprehensive estate planning services. I can help ensure your power of attorney documents account for your priorities.
Financial Power Of Attorney
A financial Power of Attorney allows someone you trust, whom you appoint as your Agent, to handle financial matters for you. Between spouses, this power is often effective immediately and is a convenience for one spouse to be able to sign for both. An alternate agent for finances can decrease the likelihood of a contested guardianship proceeding in the event that you are incapacitated for a period of time.
Medical Power Of Attorney
A medical power of attorney allows your Agent to communicate with doctors, nurses and other medical care providers about your care. It also authorizes your Agent to sign consent forms for you when you are unable to do so for yourself, if this is what your agent believes you would want under the circumstances. Creating a medical power of attorney now, when you are of sound mind and body, decreases the possibility of a need for a guardianship proceeding or court intervention regarding your health care.