Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney (POA), Conservatorship, & Guardianship.

Understanding the Difference between them. Things You Can and Can’t Do with Power of Attorney (POA)

Like most legal undertakings, setting up and enforcing power of attorney (POA) documents can be a confusing process. Yet, these essential tools can help aging adults and their families create a solid plan to address future care needs and gain peace of mind.

The Two Types of POA. POA documents allow a person (the principal) to decide in advance whom they trust and want to act on their behalf should they become incapable of making decisions for themselves. The person who acts on behalf of the principal is called the agent.

From there, it is important to distinguish between the two main types of Power Of Attorney: medical and financial.

A medical Power of Attorney (also known as healthcare POA) gives a trustworthy friend or family member (the agent) the ability to make decisions about the care the principal receives if they are incapacitated. A financial POA gives an agent the ability to make financial decisions on behalf of the principal. It is common to appoint one person to act as an agent for both financial and healthcare decisions, but in some cases it may be wise to separate the two. Read more about the POA

What Can a POA Do? The powers of an appointed agent can be broad or narrow, depending on how the POA document is written. Here are a few examples of the kinds of decisions an agent can make with each type of POA. Read more on benefits of a Power of Attorney.