Powers of attorney for your tangible and intangible assets in your estate plan

You have been working hard for everything you have, and it is in your best interest that it be administered well in your absence or incapacity. You must be careful when planning your estate because you will determine who administers the property or possessions in your absence. Beware that some parties may have malicious interest in the property. It is prudent that you protect the rights of those who may lack adequate knowledge yet who are the rightful heirs.

Powers of attorney can be granted over any of your possessions. These possessions can be classified into tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets refer to physical property that can be touched and seen, such as your house, car, and money. Intangible assets represent the interest that you may have in other businesses, such as ownership of shares in a company.

Granting powers of attorney in your estate plan is elemental for good and legally recognized administration. The powers of attorney guarantee that a party, recognized by law, is in charge of your assets in case of your death or incapacity. In brief, powers of attorney are legal authorization permitting another party to transact on your behalf. Here are a few types of attorney powers that you should know to help you grant appropriate authority to the right party as you make your estate plan:

General attorney power

General attorney powers allow the agent to carry out all your legal and financial affairs. You must state the circumstances that enforce the authority of the party representing, whether those circumstances be your death or incapacity or both. For incapacity, your grant of attorney powers has to list the specific cause of incapacity making your agent's authority actionable. You could be physically challenged, mentally incapacitated or in a coma, in which case your agent can act on your behalf.

Special attorney power

In this case, the power of attorney accorded to another party is specific or limited. The agent is a liable to legal action if he or she acts outside the provisions of the grant. Here are two examples of powers of attorney limiting the actions of your agent:

  • Healthcare attorney power

It allows the agent to make decisions related to your health in case of incapacitation. For instance, the agent can decide that you should not receive life support. Besides the medical decisions, the agent has no other express power over other aspects such as your assets.

  • Power to protect your children's property

In this grant, the agent manages any money, houses, shares, or debts on behalf of your children in case of your death or incapacitation. The grant expires when the children reach an age when the law considers them adults, as they are then deemed able to manage the assets.