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What is the difference between a durable power of attorney and general power of attorney?

Have you heard the terms “general” and “durable” power of attorney, but are unsure what the differences are between the two? Here is a quick breakdown!

Let us start by breaking down some of the lingo and looking at the responsibilities given under a power of attorney document. First, it is important to know that despite the “attorney” in “power of attorney,” there is no law degree required to fulfill this legal obligation. A principal appoints an agent to act on their behalf in specific situations. These can include both financial and medical obligations.

A financial power of attorney allows an agent to carry out financial business on behalf of the principal. Depending on the powers given to the agent in the document, the agent can pay bills, write checks, sell property, file taxes, give donations or monetary gifts, access accounts, or manage general financial decisions.

A medical power of attorney allows an agent to make healthcare decisions for the principal. Choosing a treatment, starting treatment, and stopping a treatment are all covered by the medical power of attorney.

Now, let us look at the conditions for a power of attorney document. These are defined through the designation of general or durable. What is the difference between the two?

A general power of attorney allows the agent to act on the principal’s behalf while they are alive and of sound mind. If the principal becomes incapacitated, a general power of attorney is no longer valid. The principal must be mentally competent for this document to be legal. If this condition is not met, the agent no longer has financial power over the principal.

A durable power of attorney allows the agent to make financial or medical decisions for the principal should they become incapacitated. The agent acts as a proxy for the principal to make financial decisions or medical decisions while the principal is not mentally competent to do so. A durable power of attorney ends when the principal dies or when they are capable of making their own decisions again.

Do you want to protect your future with a power of attorney document, so you know that your best interests and wishes are being considered? You need the help of Denver estate planning lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.