August is Make a Will Month, and here at Rocket Lawyer, we want to ensure you’re covered and have a sound understanding of the essential documents you’ll need for estate planning.
What is a power of attorney?
In estate planning, a power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person called “the agent” to act on behalf of the individual who created the document, known as “the principal”. In case you can’t make decisions for yourself, this document allows someone else to do so.
A Power of Attorney (POA) essentially gives someone you trust the ability to make healthcare decisions for you. This person is a spouse, close friend, or trusted family member and they are referred to as an “agent.” But no matter how well you might know this person, it’s imperative you talk with them and let them know what your wishes are.
When do you need a POA?
Each person has different estate planning needs. However, it makes sense to cover all possible scenarios to avoid complicated situations. For example, if you are starting your estate planning or you have been sick for a while. Also, when people become parents and
What’s the difference between Power of Attorney and Living Will?
A living will is a legal document that allows you to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. A living will works when you want to specify your wishes so that it is more likely they will be carried out. The main difference is that the living will is usually limited to deathbed concerns only, a durable power of attorney for healthcare covers all health care decisions.
What is a durable power of attorney?
Some states allow you to make your Power of Attorney document “durable.” A “durable” power of attorney is effective even if you become mentally incompetent or are otherwise incapacitated, whereas a non-durable POA is no longer valid if either of those incidents occurs.
How long does it last?
When used for estate planning, the POA ends when the principal passes or changes the agent to a different person.
Do you have any questions? You can Ask a Lawyer and start your estate planning today.