When you create a power of attorney in Pennsylvania, you grant someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf under certain circumstances. There are several types of powers of attorney that you can create. They differ in the decision-making responsibilities that they grant to your chosen agent and when they take effect. It is important to understand the different types and what they do.

According to FindLaw, a durable power of attorney gives an agent of your choosing the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to make them yourself. A durable power of attorney is different from a health care power of attorney. The latter gives an agent the ability to decide what medical treatment you should and should not receive. You may include both a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney in your estate plan. You do not need to choose the same agent to make both financial and health care decisions for you. If you do so, however, it may help to avoid arguments later about medical expenses.

When you create a durable power of attorney, it is a good idea to name alternate agents in case your first choice is unavailable. You may wish to make your power of attorney “springing” so that it only goes into effect in the event of your incapacitation. Otherwise, it will take effect as soon as you sign it, and your named agent will automatically have decision-making powers over your finances.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.