Pennsylvania Power of Attorney

Was your Pennsylvania estate planning attorney surprised to learn you did not have a single power of attorney in your financial documents? Maybe we need to get you up to speed in a hurry. Your estate plan should have a couple of very important forms, a Pennsylvania durable medical power of attorney and a Pennsylvania durable financial power of attorney. The forms are available at Legal Zoom .

A durable power of attorney means that it will stay in effect if at any time you become mentally incapacitated. If you would rather this document was not in effect until the time when you were declared incompetent it could be made a springing durable power of attorney. Either form is acceptable for an estate plan.

In Pennsylvania, the person you appoint powers to is called an agent. An agent can be anyone you trust with a given power. Your spouse is very often your agent, and if at any time you were to get a divorce, these documents become invalid, automatically. You may want to consider voiding these yourself at the time of filing for divorce, to be on the safe side.

Your durable medical power of attorney grants your agent the power to make medical decisions for you, when you are unable to. It is possible to add a health care directive to this document that would describe your exact wishes regarding health care. Your agent and your health care providers would then be bound to follow your instructions.

The financial power of attorney grants your agent the power to handle all of your financial needs. This could include opening mail, paying bills, making bank deposits and even selling property. This is very similar to a general power of attorney, except it stays in effect while you are mentally incompetent. If you use a springing durable power of attorney for your finances you may want to consider adding a general non-durable power of attorney to your estate plan.

There are some other useful powers of attorney you should be familiar with. These are the special non-durable powers of attorney that could be used to sell a vehicle, a piece of property or even give medical authority to a child care provider. Anytime your signature is needed, but you can't be there, a power of attorney might work for you.

Pennsylvania power of attorney forms are simple enough to fill out, this can usually be done without an attorney. Be careful, however, with the durable ones, when you need them is not the time to find out they were done incorrectly. A mentally incompetent person cannot create a power of attorney.

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