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Different types of powers of attorney

One of the primary documents you may want to execute as part of your estate planning is a power of attorney.

Under the laws of the state of North Carolina, residents may appoint another individual to act in their stead as their attorney-in-fact or agent. This might be a spouse or an adult child, but could also be a trusted friend or business associate. Whomever is chosen should be completely trustworthy and above reproach, however.

There are different types of powers of attorney, and they include:

-- Limited power of attorney. This type grants the agent specific powers or limits their powers to a certain time frame. This type is useful if you want someone to handle the sale of some real estate of to handle your affairs if you are living out of the country for a period of time.

-- General power of attorney. The agent is authorized to perform legally binding actions without notifying you.

-- Durable of special power of attorney. Although most powers of attorney are invalidated when a person becomes incapacitated, this type of document will remain in effect. North Carolina requires durable powers of attorney to be filed at the county Register of Deeds office where the individual lives.

It's important to note that as long as your attorney includes the correct wording in the document, a general power of attorney can meet the standards of a durable power of attorney. Powers of attorney are subject to revocation at any time as long as the signer isn't incapacitated. All powers of attorney are revoked upon the death of the signer.

Source: North Carolina State Employees' Credit Union, "Power of Attorney," accessed March 31, 2016

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