You feel you need help handling your financial and legal matters and want to ask for assistance from someone you trust, such as a grown child or a close friend. This person may be willing to help, but legal restrictions prevent him or her from gaining the necessary access to your accounts and records.
A power of attorney grants your chosen agent the authority to help you manage your affairs. It also allows him or her to take on full responsibility in the event that you can no longer manage on your own due to incapacity. There are various types of powers of attorney that can do different things for you.
Conditional versus durable
A conditional power of attorney does not take effect right away. Rather, it only goes into effect when a particular event of your specification takes place. For example, if you were to become incapacitated due to a coma or dementia, a conditional power of attorney could spring into effect. For this reason, another name for this type is a springing power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney does not depend on a specific event. As soon as you sign the document and have it notarized, it goes into effect. This does not take away your rights to manage your own affairs. It only gives legal recognition to someone else.
Special versus general
A special power of attorney is one that only grants authority over particular matters, such as the sale of a home. A general power of attorney grants authority over a wide range of financial and legal affairs.
As long as you are competent to do so, you may revoke your power of attorney at any time, taking away the agent’s authority. By creating a power of attorney, you ensure that someone is able to take care of your assets if you get sick before you die.