What Is A Power Of Attorney? All You Need To Know

A power of attorney enables a selected representative to act on your behalf. The powers that are given to this representative (who can be anyone you choose with capacity) can be in anything that you wish. Such power can involve everyday things such as financial decisions, life insurance decisions, wills and trusts, credit card checks, hiring other representatives etc. Power of attorney sometimes referred as POA can be an important tool for example, for older individuals who may be sick and have no family, for those who will be out of the country for extended periods of time, for those who have become mentally or physically incapable of managing their affairs. A majority of estate planning plans generally take into account the use of a power of attorney to make sure financial matters are adequately handled. It is also important to note, a power of attorney is only valid if you are competent when you sign it. Of course, you have to be of age, not under duress or coercion and voluntarily enter into it.

Special Powers 

You have the ability to specifically exercise what and how your power of attorney can be exercised. This special POA tends to be used when an individual has deteriorating health or needs assistance selling real estate, collecting debts, or handling business transactions.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This document grants your representative the authority to make medical decisions for you if you ever happen to be unconscious, mentally incompetent, or somehow impaired. This is not to be confused with a living will but it can help act as one regarding your health if you have not had the opportunity to create a will yet.

Durable Power of Attorney

This power is only enacted when it you need something specifically done. Usually it involves overseeing decisions regarding health. Basically, it is used to make sure your current power of attorney remains in effect if something happens to you. It can also be used in such a way where a power of attorney only comes into play when a certain event happens. This durable power allows you to name a specific doctor, specific hospital, specific transactions, anything down to the “t” that you want done.

Looking For The Right Representative

Just like in everyday life, you have to trust the person who is acting as your representative. Regardless who you choose, whether it’s a friend, an attorney, a professional organization, or a family member you need to be certain that they have your best interests in mind before selecting them. Remember your agent should have the ability to keep accurate records, have the ability to critical think, act on your wishes, have a duty of loyalty, keep you updated periodically, and sign an agreement that shows how they are legally liable for any misuse. This is especially true since if you wish, you can select multiple representatives. Thus, it is of vital importance that any representative you choose is meets these guidelines.

Validity: Signing, Sealing, and Delivering 

  • Notarization
  • Signatures
  • Copies made
  • Officially sealed

Banks and other official businesses will not allow your representative to act on your behalf unless they receive a certified copy of the power of attorney. You do not need a lawyer to executed a power of attorney. Yet, it is highly advisable that to consult an attorney for advice about the powers being granted, to provide counsel to your selected representative, and to draft additional clauses or make sure your document meets all the appropriate legal requirements. It is also important to understand that you can destroy/revoke/reject your POA at any time. All you have to do is to inform your agent in writing and also inform any businesses or financial institutions you were dealing with. The older people get the more they realize the importance of a such a document. Illness, injury, or daily life events are real and happen to everyone.