What is the Difference Between Limited Power of Attorney and General Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a powerful legal document that allows another person to make legal decisions concerning your life on your behalf. The holders of these documents can sell property, obtain a place to live, submit documentation for the payment of taxes, and make other decisions regarding your financial, business, and medical well-being.

However, not every power of attorney is the same. A general power of attorney allows another party to act as they see fit on your behalf concerning all your legal needs. By contrast, a limited power of attorney enables a chosen representative to act for a specific purpose.

Determining which type of power of attorney is right for you will depend on your specific wishes for your estate in the event that you become incapacitated. A skilled lawyer could further explain the difference between a limited power of attorney and a general power of attorney to someone looking to explore their options.

The Legal Impact of a Power of Attorney

Generally, individuals have the sole authority to make decisions concerning their own lives. However, the law also allows people to freely transfer this authority to others. When someone reaches an age where they can no longer handle their own affairs, it is generally in their best interests to grant their decision-making power to a trusted party.

The most common way to accomplish this is to create a power of attorney. These documents grant legal authority to others to act on the creator’s behalf. These actions can include selling and purchasing property, applying for government benefits, paying taxes, and making certain decisions about medical care. Generally speaking, the holder of a power of attorney has full authority to act on behalf of the creator. Even so, not every power of attorney will have the same legal impact.

Specificity is Key in Powers of Attorney

There are two major categories of powers of attorney. The first is the general power of attorney. This authorizes the holder to take any action that they see fit to care for the property and finances of the subject. These documents will remain in effect until the creator rescinds the order or the subject dies.

By contrast, a limited power of attorney grants only specific powers to the holder. For example, a limited power of attorney may authorize a holder to submit taxes on behalf of the subject for a certain year. Limited powers of attorney may also have time limitations, whereas a general power of attorney lasts until cancelation or death. Once a time limit expires, the power of attorney ceases to hold any legal effect.

Let an Attorney Explain the Key Differences Between Limited and General Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney hold significant power under the law. Because these documents can be so instrumental for your future, it is essential that you understand the options that are available to you and the impact that they will have on your finances, business, and personal affairs.

If you or a loved one is considering making a decision of this nature, reach out to a lawyer that is experienced in drafting power of attorney documents. A seasoned lawyer could explain the difference between limited power of attorney and general power of attorney in more detail and help you determine which is best for your purposes.