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Are there different kinds of powers of attorney?

When selecting a power of attorney, California residents will have several options available to them. Usually, they will have the choice between a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney, a health care power of attorney or a durable power of attorney.

A general power of attorney gives your agent the ability to manage your affairs while you cannot do so yourself. For example, perhaps you are traveling overseas or out of state and you need an agent to handle a business transaction for you. Alternatively, perhaps you are mentally or physically incapacitated and require someone to make decisions on your behalf. A general power of attorney can be of assistance in these situations.

A limited power of attorney gives your agent authority to act on your behalf in specific situations. For example, perhaps you need a power of attorney to handle a business transaction for you, and you want to limit the POA's authority to just that particular transaction.

A health care power of attorney is exactly what it sounds like. This POA gives your agent the ability to make health care-related decisions for you when you are incapable of doing so yourself. This document is very important to have on file to ensure that the person you want to handle your affairs is given the appropriate powers in the event that you suffer a catastrophic health event.

A durable power of attorney is a limited POA that restricts your agent from performing any action that you yourself cannot perform.

California residents will generally want to set up one or more POAs as a part of their estate plans. Since each type of POA has its own set of uses and purposes, it is important for estate planners to take an inventory of their needs before selecting which POA or POAs they will require.

Source: Quicken Loans, "Types of Power of Attorney: Which POA is Right for Me?," Victoria Araj, accessed Aug. 11, 2015

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