A power of attorney can be an important part of an estate plan for people in Virginia, but there are also a number of misconceptions about what a power of attorney does and how it works. For example, some people think that there is only one kind and it is effective in all states and circumstances. However, one state may not recognize the power of attorney from another state.

Like other estate planning documents, a power of attorney can only be signed by a person who has the mental capacity to do so. Its validity as a document for people who are mentally incapacitated depends upon the fact that it was signed prior to that incapacity.

A durable power of attorney differs from a healthcare power of attorney. The former is about who has the power to make financial decisions on a person’s behalf while the latter has to do with making medical decisions. People should not assume that a power of attorney is only something that older people need. Incapacity, either because of illness or injury, can happen to anyone at any age. Finally, some people think a power of attorney is sufficient for handling a person’s estate after the person’s death. This is incorrect: A power of attorney ends on a person’s death, and a will or trust is then necessary.

People who are creating powers of attorney may want to seek Forest, Virginia power of attorney legal representation to ensure that the documents are prepared correctly. Powers of attorney for both healthcare and finances can be important for anyone over the age of 18 since once a person is no longer a minor, the parents may not be allowed to make those decisions. Without these documents, a family might have to enter into an expensive process of seeking guardianship for an incapacitated person.