Your personal decisions are important to you and your family. If you are unable to communicate your financial or medical choices someday, you deserve to know that your values will still guide the future.

Unfortunately, without the right legal tools, you might leave essential life decisions in the hands of doctors or the government. Most people think that only elders with severe health problems use power of attorney (POA) documents, which is far from reality. Depending on your personal needs, there are POA documents for every situation.

Are there different types of powers of attorney?

Not all POA documents are the same. You can grant someone partial authority if you want to maintain some control, or you can give them all-encompassing control that lasts a lifetime.

The different powers of attorney documents include:

  • Conventional: This type of POA can grant narrowly defined powers to someone you trust while you are still able to make your own decisions. The POA ends if you become mentally incapacitated.
  • Durable: A durable POA grants authority to the other person for the rest of your life unless you cancel the agreement or create a new one.
  • Springing: A springing POA is typically rare, but it can offer relief in times of crisis or change. A springing POA goes into effect when a specified event happens. For example, this event could be when you take military leave, travel for an extended period or become incapacitated.
  • Medical: A medical POA only goes into effect when you are mentally incapacitated, and it can only determine medical decisions.

The type of power of attorney that you may seek depends on your individual goals. You can customize the powers you grant within these documents.

What would happen without a power of attorney?

The first disadvantage of not having a POA is the government process of appointing a conservator when you become incapacitated. This procedure can be time-consuming and costly for your family and friends. Additionally, you and your family will have no control over who the court appoints as your conservator. They may still be related to you, but they might not be the person who you prefer.

Your finances and medical care are important things to think about – even when you are young. Appointing someone you trust can provide you with peace of mind in the future. Reaching out to an estate planning lawyer may help you when creating your POA document. Your attorney can identify any issues and help you plan solutions.