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What are powers of attorney?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2017 | Estate Planning

When preparing estate plans in Colorado, one must take into consideration who they can put in charge of their affairs if they were to suddenly fall ill or become incapacitated. Power of attorney is a legal document that people can use to designate a person or several people to act as their agents. These people are also known as “attorneys in fact” and have the authority to manage the financial, business and medical affairs of the people they represent. They have a fiduciary responsibility that requires them only to act when it is necessary, states A Place for Mom. There are several types of powers of attorney that people can use when planning their estates.

Durable power of attorney

A person acting as durable power of attorney is responsible for overseeing the financial affairs of the person they represent. Once a person elects to have a durable power of attorney, it goes into effect immediately. It stays in effect until the person either cancels it or dies. According to, the agent does not need to prove or wait until the person they are representing is incapacitated.

Medical power of attorney

A medical power of attorney only goes into effect once a certain medical event occurs that leaves the person who is being represented incapacitated and unable to manage their own affairs. The agent is responsible for making decisions regarding the medical care and treatment of their representee.

Many people tend to confuse wills with powers of attorney. Wills specify how a deceased person’s property and assets are distributed after they die. Powers of attorney provide a contingency plan that allows others to act on someone’s behalf while they are still alive and unable to act on their own. Anyone who plans to use a power of attorney should carefully research their options and seek out professional help to prevent mistakes and complications.