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Powers of attorney: general and specific grants of authority

On Behalf of | May 6, 2022 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is a fluid concept. Every person has different needs and those needs change as time passes. A power of attorney is but one aspect of the estate planning tools available to you and, even within this one option, there are many variations. It’s important to understand some of the differences you have to choose from.

Durable power of attorney

Kentucky powers of attorney are controlled by the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Every power of attorney is a grant of authority by you (the principal) to another person (your agent), allowing your agent to act legally on your behalf. A durable power of attorney is one that does not terminate automatically should you become incapacitated. In Kentucky, all powers of attorney are considered durable unless you specify otherwise.

General grants of authority

Kentucky law breaks powers of attorney into one of two classifications – general and specific grants of authority. The Act lists quite a few areas in which your agent can act with general authority, including real estate, taxes, litigation and retirement benefits. There are many other areas to choose from and you have the option to include as few or as many of them as you like, depending upon your needs.

Specific grants of authority

There are limits to the power of your agent, even when they are granted general authority over certain areas. The Act itself includes such limitations, requiring you to expressly authorize your agent to act within these specific circumstances. For instance, you may choose to empower your agent to act generally with respect to any trust you may have. However, the agent cannot create, amend or revoke a trust unless you give them the specific authority to do so.

Because a power of attorney can be complex in its execution, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable professional to make sure it is done correctly. This will ensure that your estate planning is accurately designed to meet your particular needs and tailored to achieve your individual goals.