What is the Difference Between General Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney?

If you have power of attorney for a loved one or are thinking about authorizing someone, the type you choose can impact what someone can or cannot do by law. When planning your estate many people authorize a power of attorney and are unaware that there are different types. Two types include general power of attorney and durable power of attorney. Not knowing the difference between the two can lead to unfortunate circumstances.

What is the difference between general power of attorney and durable power of attorney? We’re going to explain the two so that you can decide which one better suits your situation. We’ll also explore how The Doyle Law Offices P.A. can help whether you choose a general power of attorney or durable power of attorney.

What is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on the behalf of the person who is drawing up the document. In legal terms, the person initiating the document is called the principal and the person they designate to act on their behalf is the agent.

General Power of Attorney vs. Durable Power of Attorney

When you come to the our law firm inquiring about power of attorney, our team may ask if you’re looking to establish a general power of attorney or durable power of attorney. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

General Power Attorney

Under a general power attorney, the agent has broad authority to make a variety of decisions. These include:

  • Medical Decisions
  • Legal Choices
  • Financial Decisions
  • Business Decisions

As the principal, you can decide what powers your agent has. Some of the most common include:

  • Paying bills and signing checks
  • Buying, selling, and managing real estate
  • Borrowing money
  • Filing tax returns
  • Making donations

Think about what decisions you trust your agent to make for you. You want to be completely comfortable with the person and the abilities you’re giving them. It’s extremely important to note that a general power of attorney ends the moment the principal becomes incapacitated. If you’re looking for your power of attorney to cover end-of-life decisions, this is not the type you’ll want to choose.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney continues even if the principal becomes incapacitated. The powers remain in effect until the principal dies or decides to take away the power they’ve given their agent.

There are many circumstances where the courts will end durable power of attorney. This includes times when the principal and the agent divorce, but documents have not been updated to reflect that. Also, many states consider power of attorney as durable unless it is explicitly stated otherwise.

Types of Durable Powers of Attorney

Some people choose to have different types of durable powers of attorney to handle different types of their affairs. These include:

Financial Power of Attorney

This person has the authority to manage your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated.

Medical Power of Attorney or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

This person has the power to make medical decisions if you can’t do so.

If you want your durable power of attorney to be able to cover all decision-making areas, then there is no need to distinguish between different types of durable power of attorney.

How do I Decide if a General Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney is Best for Me?

The main question to ask yourself is do you want your power of attorney to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated? If you do, then a durable power of attorney would be the better choice over a general power of attorney. If you want your agent’s power to end if you become incapacitated, then a general power of attorney would be a better fit.

Estate Planning and Power of Attorney at The Doyle Law Offices P.A.

If you have questions and need legal help when it comes to estate planning and power of attorney, our experienced attorney is here for you. We have proudly served Wake Forest, Rolesville, Cary and Raleigh for over 25 years and continue to do so today. Call us at  (919) 228-4487 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation.

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