A General Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives an agent (delegated person) authority to act on behalf of a principal (maker of the document). It is the broadest power a person can give another person. The principal gives the agent the power to do anything that the principal could do. A General Power of Attorney may be revoked by the principal by giving notice.
A Limited Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney that is narrowed for a specific purpose; ie: buying a home.There are different types of Power of Attorneys, such as Financial Power of Attorney which allows your agent to take care of your finances, make bank deposits, oversee investments, collect insurance or government benefits and generally handle financial matters on your behalf.
A Durable Power of Attorney like other powers of attorney, are a written agreement whereby a principal designates an agent to act on his or her behalf, however, a Durable Power of Attorney survives death or incapacity. Typically, this Power of Attorney can be used for Property or Health Care. Like probate, these proceedings can be costly, protracted and embarrassing for those involved. Like a Financial Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney for Property appoints an agent to make certain decisions concerning property and financial management. A Health care Power of Attorney allows an agent to make health care decisions on behalf of a principal who is unable to make those decisions for him/herself. This is especially helpful in terminal and nonterminal cases, such as disclosure of medical records.
Advance Health Care Directive is a document that specifically designates the principals wishes for life sustaining treatment.
Consequences of not having a Durable Power of Attorney include having to petition a court to appoint a guardian of the estate to make property decisions for a person who is incapacitated or disabled.