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What is a Power of Attorney?

Wills and Estates: Power of Attorney. Part 1 of 4

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to act on your behalf.

Although there can be different kinds of Powers of Attorney, the most common are Powers of Attorney for Property which covers your financial affairs even if you become mentally incapable of looking after your affairs, and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care which can cover your personal care decisions or health care decision if you become incapable of making them yourself. Such a Power of Attorney may contain a directive with respect to artificial life support if one has no hope of recovery. Such a directive contained in a Power of Attorney for Personal Care is often referred to as a "living will".

Fortunately, the cost of having a lawyer prepare one is quite reasonable. If you already have a Will, a review of it with your lawyer is an excellent idea and need not be expensive as our circumstances and families change over time.

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