Introduction: What is power of attorney?
Power of attorney, also known as POA, is a legal agreement, which grants power to a designated person to act on behalf of another. If you appoint an agent through a POA, they will be able to make decisions for you.
In most cases, people choose to designate power of attorney in the event that they are unable to make decisions or sign documents and contracts due to health issues. If you become incapacitated as a result of an accident, or you have long-term health problems, which impact your ability to make decisions, the agent will act on your behalf. It is also possible to use a POA to allow an agent to act for you if you cannot attend specific events, or you plan to be out of the country. This may be the case with financial matters.
It is important to note that power of attorney is not restricted to legal representatives or professionals. The use of the word attorney can be confusing. You, the principal, can appoint anybody, but it’s important to make sure that you trust the individual. Most people choose to designate family members or very close friends.
What are the different types of powers of attorney?
There are three main types of powers of attorney. These include:
- General: A general power of attorney is a general agreement, which gives the agent the right to act on behalf of the principal across a broad range of matters. This may include signing checks, dealing with financial matters and selling property, for example.
- Durable: A durable power of attorney means that the agent can continue to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- Limited: Also known as special power of attorney, limited POA restricts the matters an agent can handle. This means that the agent will be able to deal only with specific areas or events. A good example is a principal allowing an agent to handle their finances and sign agreements for a limited period if they are living overseas for a year.
Some people choose to create a POA for a limited period or a specific reason. Examples include healthcare, custody of children and selling real estate.
What are the benefits of a power of attorney?
The main benefit of having a power of attorney is to protect yourself if you become incapacitated or you are unable to make important decisions or attend certain events. You can choose a person or people you trust to act on your behalf.
How to set up a POA
Before you buy or download the relevant POA form for your state, it’s incredibly beneficial to seek legal advice. Experienced lawyers will explain the process, go through the details with you and ensure that you understand what the agreement means. You should always ensure that you choose people you trust implicitly and you should never feel pressured to sign a POA.
A power of attorney is a legal authorization, which enables a designated agent to act on behalf of another person. There are three main types of POA, including general, durable and limited powers of attorney. If you wish to set up a POA, it’s wise to seek expert legal advice.
Family.Estate can match you with a qualified lawyer in your area to take care of power of attorney matters.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and information may vary between states. Information found on this website is general in nature. Please consult with a lawyer for personal support.