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A power of attorney document gives you the ability to appoint a person or an organization the right to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated and can no longer do so for yourself. You can designate anyone you trust to act as a power of attorney. In many cases, people name an actual lawyer or a law firm to handle their affairs, but this is not a requirement. The power of attorney agreement lasts until you pass away or you change or cancel the terms of the agreement.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of power of attorney relationships:

General Power of Attorney. This kind of arrangement gives sweeping powers to the agent you select, allowing them to handle all of your financial affairs, business transactions, pay your bills, settle claims, and retain others to help manage your affairs. It can also cover health care options if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

Health Care Power of Attorney. As the name implies, this gives your agent the authority to make only medical decisions on your behalf if you become physically or mentally unable to do so on your own. This is not the same as an advanced health care directive, but when combined with a living will or trust, it can form the basis for crucial medical decisions.

Financial Power of Attorney. This limits your agent to making financial decisions on your behalf, including managing your investments, paying bills, protecting your business interests and other related matters.

Durable Power of Attorney. If you have a power of attorney agreement already in effect to handle your affairs, this version allows a POA to remain in effect if you become unable to for any physical or mental reason. For a durable Power of Attorney to go into effect, it’s best to specify that you will want a doctor to certify that you are no longer competent to manage your affairs.

Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.

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