Most people have a basic understanding of what a Power of Attorney does. However, not all Power of Attorney documents are the same, and the rights you are afforded depend on how the document is created by a your estate planning lawyer.
Let’s start first with the basics: a Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to name someone (called an agent) to oversee your financial and personal matters if you ever become incapacitated or if you just don’t feel like handling your affairs anymore. Within the document, you can also place limits on the duties of your agent, which gives you extra peace of mind that they’ll act with your best interests in mind.
To decide which Power of Attorney will be best for your situation, it can help to get clear on what you may need it for. For example:
- Are you no longer able to – or do you no longer care to – manage your financial affairs by yourself?
- Are you traveling outside of the country for an extended period of time?
- Do you need a limited matter taken care of, like a real estate closing, but cannot attend to it personally?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to speak to an attorney to find out which Power of Attorney best suits your needs.
Immediate Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney allows your agent to manage your financial affairs as soon as the ink dries on the document’s signature line. Many senior citizens like the Immediate Durable Power of Attorney because it allows their children or other trusted family members to handle their financial affairs and lets the senior focus on the more enjoyable aspects of life. The word “durable” means that the power of attorney continues even if you become incapacitated after it is signed. Unless otherwise specified, all powers of attorney in Louisiana are “durable.”
Springing Durable Power of Attorney
The Springing Durable Power of Attorney is very similar to the Durable Power of Attorney but with one main difference: the Springing POA only works if one or more doctors find you to be incapacitated or if some other pre-determined situation happens. Younger people often use the Springing Power of Attorney since they usually have no need to hand complete financial control to their agents.
General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney is often used for individuals who are traveling for extended periods and need others to pay their bills and make other financial decisions while they’re gone. It allows your agent to take care of all of your financial affairs. However, in Louisiana, your agent has to be given specific authority to take care of some items; therefore, a power of attorney that does not contain these specific instructions may not work in some circumstances.
Limited Power of Attorney
The Limited Power of Attorney gives an agent control over very specific interests, usually for just a short period of time. These documents are most commonly used in real estate sales when the seller is unable to attend the closing.
Have more questions about Power of Attorney documents? Or would you like your current Power of Attorney reviewed to make sure it still fits your needs? Call us at (225) 744-0027 to set up an appointment with a Baton Rouge estate planning lawyer.