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Understanding the different powers of attorney

California residents have a variety of tools at their disposal when it comes to estate planning. Some of these tools involve granting individuals or entities powers of attorney. The three main powers of attorney are the health care power of attorney, HIPPA power of attorney and the durable power of attorney.

The health care power of attorney gives a designated individual the ability to make medical decisions within the guidelines of the document crafted. A HIPPA power of attorney is worthwhile because there are laws that restrict personal health information to authorized parties. With a HIPPA power of attorney, those who may not otherwise have access to pertinent health records will have the information that he or she needs to carry out an individual's wishes.

The durable power of attorney gives an authorized agent the authority to make a wide range of decisions. While the health care power of attorney only covers health care decisions, the durable power of attorney can cover any issue. This document can be crafted to give a third party the ability to sell a home or to give that person the ability to make all decisions for that individual. The agreement can be permanent or be effective for a limited period.

An individual may have many tools to help him or her plan for almost anything that may happen. With a power of attorney, it may be possible to protect assets or to control what type of medical care an individual receives. It may be a good idea to talk to an estate planning attorney when a person is planning to cede power to a third party. An attorney may be able to advise an individual as to what he or she is agreeing to before the agreement goes into effect.

Source: Forbes, "Three Powers of Attorney Everyone Needs", Mark Eghrari, November 14, 2014

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