Power of attorney is a legal instrument that grants a designated person the power to make decisions on your behalf if you are not physically present or incapacitated. The agent may be responsible for managing your property, finances, and/or medical affairs. There are different types of powers of attorney, and different individuals can be designated for each.
Types of Power of Attorney in North Carolina
- General Power of Attorney – A general power of attorney allows you to authorize an agent to act on your behalf in all situations permitted by North Carolina law. This way, your agent can handle health (sometimes), financial, business, and other legal matters on your behalf. The general power of attorney can be durable or non-durable.
A general power of attorney will also give your agent significant powers over your personal affairs, but there are things they can’t do. For instance, they can’t enter into a marriage or modify your last will.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – A healthcare power of attorney allows you to grant authority to your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you no longer have the ability to make decisions. These medical decisions range from the type of care you receive, the doctors you see, and more. It is important that you choose agents you trust to act as your healthcare agent because these agents will be ensuring you are taken care of physically and mentally.
Rights and Limitations of Power of Attorney in North Carolina
With a power of attorney, you authorize your agent to act on your behalf to do things you would normally do; such as signing paychecks, withdrawing funds from your bank account, and filing tax returns. They may also be responsible for buying and selling property and stocks and seeking professional assistance.
If you have a healthcare power of attorney, your agent will have the authority to handle your medical care on your behalf. They can discharge or admit you to the hospital, choose what medications you take (within reason) and select your doctor.
However, your agent is not allowed to:
- Enter into a marriage with the power of attorney;
- Transfer the powers to another person;
- Change your estate plan; or
- Violate his or her fiduciary duties
Contact a Wilmington Estate Planning Attorney Today
Are you contemplating creating or modifying a power of attorney in North Carolina? At Rountree Losee, we can offer the estate planning support you need. Contact us online or call us at 910-763-3404 to schedule a consultation with one of our Wilmington estate planning attorneys today.