What is a power of attorney?

Making plans about one’s end of life estate can be complicated and difficult. Not all Colorado residents are familiar with the variety of legal tools that they can draft and execute to accomplish their testamentary plans. For this reason, many people choose to work with knowledgeable estate planning attorneys when they create their end-of-life estate plans.

Though wills and trust are commonly discussed estate planning devices, powers of attorney are also incredibly important in many end-of-life estate plans. This post will discuss the two types of power of attorney documents that individuals can choose to execute and what they accomplish. This post does not provide any legal advice on estate planning matters nor does it offer specific items on any individual estate planning cases.

Medical power of attorney

The important fact that readers should remember about any power of attorney documents is that they are relevant before a person dies. For example, a medical power of attorney is a legal device that grants a named individual the authority to make medical care decisions about an individual when they are incapacitated. When an individual cannot speak for themselves with regard to their medical care, the party named in their medical power of attorney can speak for them and make decisions about the types of care and treatment they will receive.

Financial power of attorney

While a medical power of attorney gives a person the right to make medical decisions for another, a financial power of attorney gives a named party the power to make financial and money decisions for an incapacitated person. When an individual has financial power of attorney, they can move money of the incapacitated person to pay bills, make investments, and manage other assets and liabilities. In the event that a person recovers from their incapacitation, their financial and medical powers of attorney will cease to operate as they will have the power to speak for themselves.

Not all estate planning devices become active upon a person’s death. Powers of attorney help individuals have peace of mind about the future in the event that they become incapacitated. Estate planning attorneys can help their clients draft these another estate planning documents.