What is the Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf in private, business, or some other legal matter. The person authorizing the other to act is the principal, grantor, or donor (of the power). The one authorized to act is the agent, attorney-in-fact, or delegate.
A POA may be “general,” meaning that the agent may take any legal action on the principal’s behalf that the principal could take, or it may be “limited” to certain acts or types of transactions.
The terms of a POA may specify when it will expire; otherwise, it generally expires upon the principal’s death.
A POA is revocable, meaning that the principal may cancel it at any time. However, if the POA is properly executed and delivered (given to the agent), it is irrevocable and binding on the principal.
Many people execute a POA as part of their estate planning so that someone they trust can manage their affairs if they become incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so.
- A POA may be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Managing finances and property
- Making medical decisions
- Conducting business on behalf of the principal
- Filing taxes
- Buying or selling real estate
- Making gifts
- Creating or dissolving a business
A POA can be an important part of your estate planning. It can help ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes in the event. So that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so. It is important to choose an agent you trust and to clearly define the scope of the agent’s authority.
If you have any questions about power of attorney, please consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Frequently Asked Question
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf. This can be helpful if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself, or if you simply want someone else to handle your affairs while you’re unavailable.
How is a power of attorney different from guardianship or conservatorship?
A guardianship or conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints someone to make decisions on your behalf. This is typically only used as a last resort when no one else is able to make decisions on your behalf and there is no POA in place.
What are some common uses for a power of attorney?
There are many different ways that a POA can be used. Some common examples include:
- Paying your bills and managing your finances while you’re deployed or otherwise unable to do so
- Selling your house or car while you’re away
- Making medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so
- Accessing your bank account and managing your money while you’re away
- Dealing with your insurance company or filing your taxes
How do I choose someone to be my power of attorney?
This is a personal decision, and there is no wrong answer. You should choose someone you trust implicitly to make the decisions you want them to make. It’s also important to choose someone who is organized and detail-oriented, as they will be responsible for managing your affairs.
Can I revoke my power of attorney?
Yes, you can revoke your POA at any time, as long as you are of sound mind. To do so, you will need to notify the person who is serving as your POA, as well as any relevant parties (such as your bank or insurance company). You can also specify an expiration date in your POA document, after which it will no longer be valid.
Do I need a lawyer to create a power of attorney?
While you are not required to have a lawyer to create a POA, it is strongly recommended. This is because a POA is a legal document, and it’s important that everything is done correctly. A lawyer can help you to understand your options and make sure that your POA is legally binding.
What happens if I don’t have a power of attorney?
If you become incapacitated and do not have a POA in place, your family or friends will need to go through the court system to be appointed as your guardian or conservator. This is a lengthy and expensive process, so it’s best to have a POA in place ahead of time.
What should I do if I have questions about my power of attorney?
If you have questions about your POA or the powers that you’ve granted to someone else, you should speak to a lawyer. They can help you to understand your rights and make sure that your POA is being used correctly.