The Importance of a Power of Attorney
When are you considering estate planning tools and documents you need to create, it is critical to learn more about powers of attorney and how these documents can provide reassurance in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to make important financial or health care decisions on your own. There are different types of power of attorney (POA) documents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and our firm can work with you to craft the POAs that are beneficial to you and to your family. If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to get started with a Philadelphia power of attorney, do not hesitate to get in touch with the dedicated team at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin today for assistance.
What is a Power of Attorney in Philadelphia, PA?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person authority to make certain decisions for you on your behalf. Depending upon the type of power of attorney, and the terms contained within the document, a POA can give another person very broad authority to make decisions on your behalf or very limited authority to do so. A power of attorney can be temporary for a specific duration of time, it can apply to a single event, or it can last until a person’s death.
Many powers of attorney are structured so that your agent or attorney-in-fact (the person with authority to make certain decisions on your behalf) has the power to make those decisions if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
Understanding Types of POAs in Philadelphia
There are different types of powers of attorney in Pennsylvania, and a Philadelphia estate planning lawyer can discuss the differences with you. In general, the following are types of powers of attorney you should know about:
- Durable power of attorney: This is not a specific type of power of attorney, but rather a term that refers to the duration of the power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney, the agent or attorney-in-fact has the ability to make decisions for the principal (you, or the person executing the power of attorney document) if the principal becomes incapacitated. In other words, a durable power of attorney is one that lasts beyond incapacitation and can even take effect only once the principal becomes incapacitated.
- Health care power of attorney: This is a particular kind of POA under Pennsylvania law in which a principal names another person to make health care decisions on his or her behalf in the event of incapacitation.
- Financial power of attorney: This is a kind of POA in which a principal names another person to make financial decisions on his or her behalf, such as the ability to access bank accounts, to pay bills, and to handle other types of financial matters. A financial power of attorney can take effect immediately, or it can become effective once a person becomes incapacitated.
Contact our Firm for Philadelphia Power of Attorney Matters
If you need assistance with a power of attorney, one of our Philadelphia estate planning lawyers can help.
Contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin for more information.