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Power of Attorney

Planning for a time when you may be unable to make decisions for yourself can be upsetting and unnerving for all involved. That only makes it all the more important to designate power of attorney for when it may actually happen. Otherwise, your medical and financial wishes can go unknown and unfulfilled. Whoever receives it, needs documentation of them, and an estate planning attorney can help.

At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we can explain the various forms you may need to employ to prepare for your own future and that of your family.

What is a power of attorney?

Under Pennsylvania law, 20 Pa.C.S. Chapter 56, a Power of Attorney is defined as a written document used to authorize another individual to act as your agent or attorney-in-fact should you be unable to act on your own behalf.

In the Keystone State, there are various forms you may enact. They include:

  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Simple Power of Attorney
  • Springing Power of Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney

Pennsylvania law deems all powers of attorney are durable unless the documents specifically state otherwise. This type does not end when the principal, or person who gives another power over financial affairs, becomes incapacitated. This type becomes effective only when the principal and the agent sign the document.

Simple Power of Attorney

This type ends when the principal becomes incapacitated. In general, these types often involve financial matters of e-filing tax returns, paying bills, and borrowing money. It’s not common to use this type.

Springing Power of Attorney

This type goes into effect at a specific date or after a named event occurs. In order to be valid, the power of attorney must explicitly state the date or event it should come into effect. Typically, those creating these powers of attorney will say that this type is effective once he or she becomes incapacitated.

If incapacitation is the event that springs the power of attorney into effect, it is wise to give guidelines that determine such status. For example, you may want to name another individual as the decider of incapacitation or disability who is not the agent. In addition, you can request a medical provider to make that determination.

Health Care Power of Attorney

While all the previous forms were specific to financial decisions, there is a form that pertains only to medical decisions.

A health care power of attorney allows you to name an individual to make decisions about your medical care. This only comes into effect when you are incapacitated. Such decisions an agent can make include:

  • Personal care management
  • Hiring a personal care assistant
  • Medical treatment

While an agent of this type has the power to make medical choices on your behalf, your living will explains what your medical wishes are.

It is important to remember that no matter your needs, it is always best to select someone you trust. In addition, it is beneficial to work with an estate planning attorney who can explain the process to you and your agent. Experienced attorneys like those at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano will ensure no components have been left out.

Power of Attorney: Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano

At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we know the stressors that are perpetuated by planning for the future. But it’s critically important for your future, and that of your family, that you do. If you have questions about creating powers of attorney for financial and medical needs, contact the Northeast Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today. We help families in Scranton navigate all of life’s journeys.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your best interests first. We offer a free case evaluation to all potential clients.

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