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What are the types of power of attorney, and how do I get one?

Many Denver residents may be aware of the need to plan their estates, but may not understand how the process works. For instance, you may be wondering what power of attorney is and how you might go about getting one.

In general, power of attorney allows a designated person, known as an agent, to manage your property and finances. Additionally, a power of attorney can make medical decisions on your behalf, in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself. There are three different types of powers of attorney; financial power of attorney, durable power of attorney and limited power of attorney. Each type has different responsibilities and limitations.

A financial power of attorney is also known as general power of attorney for property or general power of attorney. An agent with power of attorney is allowed to transact business and manage your finances and property on your behalf. However, the agent must follow your wishes as written in your documentation. An agent with durable power of attorney is allowed to make both financial and medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are not able to make decisions on your own. A limited or special power of attorney allows an agent to perform specific duties on your behalf. The permissions and limitations of a limited power of attorney may be outlined in your documentation.

Although it is a difficult subject for many people, estate planning can save a great deal of both money and heartache for your family members and heirs. An estate-planning lawyer can help you determine your needs and wishes in regard to your assets and medical needs.

Source: Colorado Bar Association, "Financial Powers of Attorney", September 15, 2014

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