Power of Attorney

It is likely you have heard the term Power of Attorney or POA for short and having a POA is legally allowing someone else to make certain types of decisions for you under certain circumstances. Below is an explanation of the three main types of POAs:

Health Care POA:

This allows for someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated or in some way unable to make your own decisions. This is a very important designation to make and many people put it off thinking it doesn't matter or (if married) their spouse will be the one making the decision. In most cases a spouse would automatically be appointed to make these decisions, but what happens if your spouse is not available or you do not have a spouse - in most other cases someone would have to apply to the court to be named as Health Care POA and that person could be a family member, friend or a stranger appointed off a court approved list. To avoid this uncertainty, it is best to have already named someone you trust.     

Financial POA:

This allows for someone to make various financial decisions for you (manage your assets - pay your bills - access bank accounts, etc) - it can be all encompassing or you can limit to to just certain types of things. This type of POA can be valid immediately upon signing or "springing" meaning it is only in effect if certain conditions are met (i.e. incapacitation).

Limited POA 

There are many types of limited POAs - such as signing to allow someone to get your car registered for you or handle a real estate transaction. These are generally very limited in scope and only for a specific purpose.