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Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney Basics

The experienced teams at Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb provide service in estate planning and everything the practice entails. In some cases, this may mean choosing and filing various types of power of attorneys. Power of attorney is filed when someone is ill or incapacitated, either from a short-term hospital visit or a long-term illness or injury. This document allows for a trusted person to handle the affairs of the incapacitated person. Power of attorneys can be filed to make medical, financial, and familial decisions. There are several types of power of attorneys, and each allows for different degrees of decision-making capabilities.

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact (an agent of your choosing) to handle some general financial and legal affairs. Usually, general POAs are integrated into an estate plan, though they can also be used for when someone is traveling outside of the country or cannot otherwise attend to his or her own affairs. General POAs usually allow for the agent to:

  • Buy and sell a property or real estate
  • Conduct bank transactions and use safety deposit boxes
  • Attend to federal and state matters, like tax filing returns and handling benefits
  • Enter contracts and settle legal claims
  • Purchase life insurance
  • Handle stocks

Additionally, extra powers can be added on to the POA to enable the agent to handle business matters, make gifts to people and charities, hire assistants, and transfer assets to living trusts. General POAs expire upon incapacitation, so they do not allow for your agent to act for you when you are mentally incompetent.

Limited Power of Attorney

Limited POAs allow for similar privileges, but the agent is only allowed to exercise his or her power under certain conditions. This type of POA is more suited to temporary conditions that inhibit the person from handling his or her own affairs, such as traveling out of the country or other commitments. They may also be used to limit certain kinds of decisions in specific situations. For example, a business owner may want to use a POA to let a trusted person run his or her business while he or she is out of the country for a number of months.

Health Care Power of Attorney

Health Care POAs are often part of an estate plan along with a general POA. They allow your attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions for you when you are unable. Health Care POAs only come into effect when you are deemed mentally incompetent to handle your own decisions, either because of unconsciousness or another medical reason. It is your choice to state within the POA who you would like as your doctor (or you can choose to use two doctors) to determine your mental state before enacting the POA.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable POA can be applied to any other type of POA to modify the duration of the document. With a durable POA, the agents continue to make decisions for you after you are incapacitated. Without this POA, you will not be represented by anyone unless the court grants a guardian. Durable POAs allow for your agent to act on your behalf whether you are incapacitated or not, so it is important to choose a trustworthy agent.

Get Legal Advice From Your Arizona Lawfirm

The attorneys at Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb have been practicing estate planning law and preparing a power of attorney since 1985. We have deep experience across a broad spectrum of law practices, including family law, business law, employment law, and catastrophic injuries. When preparing an estate plan for our clients, we listen carefully to their individual wants and needs to develop a personalized strategy for their future and the future of their loved ones. We hope you contact us for your legal needs.


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