There are several different types of powers of attorney, and we use each type for a different purpose. A power of attorney is key in many estate planning and life planning scenarios, and almost everyone could benefit from one.
This legal document lets you name a specific agent to handle your affairs and make decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able to do so. This could occur if you are out of the country, under anesthesia, or no longer mentally competent to make these decisions on your own.
It is important to understand the types of powers of attorney and the control they give to your agent before you decide what you need. Our team of attorneys, social workers, and a registered nurse offer advice, counseling, and support to help you choose the right power of attorney (or powers of attorney) that work best for you. This may include:
General Power of Attorney
Establishing a general power of attorney gives your agent the ability to deal with a wide range of decisions and matters on your behalf. This might include:
- Financial transactions
- Business and operating decisions
- Settling civil claims
- Donating money or making other gifts
A critical part of many estate plans, a general power of attorney ensures you have someone to handle your banking and financial transactions when you cannot. This may occur if you will be traveling, or may become physically or mentally impaired — either temporarily or permanently.
Health Care Power of Attorney
The agent you choose to serve as your health care power of attorney will make medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot. This may include:
- When you are under anesthesia for a procedure
- If you become unconscious
- If you are mentally incompetent due to a temporary condition
- If you are mentally incompetent due to a permanent condition
Many people are familiar with the term “living will,” and assume this is the same thing. However, this is not the case. Living wills deal primarily with life support, and are a part of an instruction directive under New Jersey law.
You may have this type of advanced health care directive in addition to a health care power of attorney. In New Jersey, you may hear this called a “proxy directive.” These are the only two types of advanced health care directives available under New Jersey law.
Special Power of Attorney
Sometimes, you may only need a power of attorney for a specific task or a small group of tasks. We can use a special power of attorney to allow your agent to perform a limited number of tasks and handle certain matters, while not giving him/her the full power to make all decisions about a certain topic.
You might need this type of power of attorney if you need someone else to handle selling your home or other real estate, purchasing property, collecting a debt, or other similar financial transactions. When we meet to discuss your specific needs, we can determine if this type of power of attorney best fits your needs, and define the specific tasks your agent might need to handle.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney will last if you have a long-term or permanent condition that leaves you mentally incompetent to make your own decisions about your finances, health care, or other matters. A durable power of attorney can be any of the other types of powers of attorney, only it includes a special provision to ensure the agent you select retains the power for the remainder of your life, or until he/she is unable to do so.
Many people use this type of power of attorney if they just received a diagnosis of dementia, or another condition that could lead to permanent mental impairment. When we craft this type of document for you, we will include the conditions that we must meet before it goes into effect. We will, of course, also include the durability provision to ensure it remains in effect as long as necessary.
Bratton Scott: Your New Jersey Powers of Attorney Lawyer
At Bratton Scott, we have a full legal team who can help you ensure you get the legal protections you need, and you have a trusted agent handling your affairs. Our attorneys, social workers, and our registered nurse all work together to understand your family’s preferences and priorities, and help you execute the proper powers of attorney based on them. We also offer counseling and support that help you choose a trustworthy agent to handle your matters.
If you need help with a power of attorney in New Jersey, call Bratton Scott today at 856-857-6007 for a free consultation.