Authorizing someone to make decisionson your behalf if you become incapacitated or pass away is a crucial component of an estate plan. When you give someone these responsibilities, you can prevent confusion and conflicts during tumultuous times.
When creating an estate plan, know that there are different decision-making roles and rights for different scenarios. For instance, you have numerous options when it comes to assigning powers of attorney (POA).
Medical and financial POA
Generally, there are two types of powers of attorney: medical and financial.
A medical POA gives a person the authority to make medical decisions for you. These decisions can range from selecting a nursing home for you to approving surgical operations when you are under anesthesia. The agent can access your medical records and complete paperwork for insurance and government support programs.
A financial POA permits the agent to make decisions for you related to your property. This person has the authority to buy or sell real property on your behalf, change beneficiary designations and manage your personal finances.
It is crucial to note that these are general descriptions of POA roles. The exact responsibilities a person has or does not have will depend on what you decide and any special instructions you provide.
Springing, standing and durable POA
In Colorado, powers of attorney can take effect at different points, depending on whether they are springing or standing.
Standing powers of attorney take effect as soon as a person approves them; springing powers of attorney take effect when a licensed physician or other authorized party determines the principal to be incapacitated.
It is also important to note that, unlike some others, powers of attorney are generally durable in this state. This means they remain in place when a principal becomes incapacitated, which is different from general powers of attorney, which terminate at this time.
Personalizing your POA
You have several options when it comes to appointing people to make decisions for you. And powers of attorney can be flexible in ways that allow you to design your plan for your specific wishes and needs.
Understanding the potential solutions can help you make informed decisions now to guide others if you cannot make them in the future.