A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the power to act for another person (the principal). The agent can have broad legal authority or limited authority to make legal decisions about the principal's property, finances or medical care. A Health Care Directive is usually used to determine your Health Care Agent and what powers they have to make medical decisions separate from your POA.
There are various types of Power of Attorney;
General Power of Attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney. (means that it is still effective even when you are disabled or incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself).
Special or Limited Power of Attorney. (means that it is limited to a special purpose or time frame such as signing closing papers on a real estate purchase or other transaction).
Springing Durable Power of Attorney. (means that it only becomes effective upon a triggering event such as becoming disabled or incapacitated).
There are two main forms used for Powers of Attorney.
MN Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney. (This is based on MN Statute chapter 523.23 for it's authority so it is the most widely recognized and accepted form but is also limited to the statutory authority).
Common Law Power of Attorney. (This is based on common law court decisions and precedence for its authority).
It is important that everyone have a plan for when or if they become disabled or incapacitated because as an attorney I have seen the devastation of a person in a coma after an accident and nobody has legal authority to access his bank records or other accounts. In an example case, he paid all the bills and was the only one on the checkbook. The wife had to initiate an emergency guardianship procedure to be named as his temporary guardian in order to access his accounts, whereas if he had a POA signed before the accident, she could simply take that POA form into the bank and would be granted access to his account and sign on his behalf without the expense, time and effort of having to file in court.
Talk to your attorney about getting a POA and in what form is most appropriate whether it be a springing, durable, general, or other limited authority form to ensure that you are protected. You may have multiple POA's and even multiple agents that must act unanimously or independently. To consider the options and discuss what is best for you, talk to a Blaschko Law Firm attorney today.