Power of Attorney
Understanding Powers of Attorney
There are several different types of powers of attorney, each intended to serve distinct purposes. A power of attorney, or POA, allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot make such decisions for yourself. There are two basic categories of power of attorney: power of attorney for property and power of attorney for health care.
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A power of attorney for property gives your agent the authority to act in your place for matters of finances, assets, and debts. Your agent can write checks, pay your bills, manage your accounts, and even file your tax returns. The agent must protect your best interests and keep track of the actions taken to fulfill that duty.
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By comparison, a power of attorney for health care—sometimes called a “health care proxy”—is empowered to make decisions regarding your health and medical needs. In addition, you may wish to draft a living will or other advance medical directives addressing your wishes regarding particular medical procedures and possible end-of-life care. Your health care proxy is responsible for following through on your medical decisions.
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