A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants authority to another person to make decisions and carry out actions on your behalf. This document can be used in many different situations, including but not limited to financial, medical, and legal matters. It is an essential tool for people who want to ensure that their affairs are taken care of in the event that they become unable to manage them themselves, due to illness, injury, or other reasons.
Types of Power of Attorney
There are two main types of POA: general and limited. A general POA gives the attorney-in-fact broad powers to handle all aspects of the principal’s affairs. A limited POA, on the other hand, specifies the powers that the attorney-in-fact may exercise. For example, a limited POA might only grant authority to handle a specific financial transaction or to make medical decisions in the event of incapacity.
Choosing an Attorney-in-Fact
It is essential to choose an attorney-in-fact carefully. This person should be someone you trust to act in your best interests and to make decisions that align with your values and goals. Consider the individual’s character, reliability, and level of responsibility when making your decision. It is also wise to choose someone who is geographically close by and readily accessible, in case they need to take action on your behalf.
Drafting the Power of Attorney Document
The POA document should be drafted with great care to ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and provides the attorney-in-fact with the necessary powers to carry out your wishes. A lawyer can help you draft the document and advise you on the best way to structure it to meet your needs. It is also important to have the document signed and notarized to make it legally binding.
Revoking a Power of Attorney
A POA can be revoked at any time by the principal as long as they have the capacity to do so. The revocation should be in writing and should be delivered to the attorney-in-fact and any other relevant parties, such as banks or other financial institutions. If the principal becomes incapacitated, the POA is automatically revoked and cannot be exercised.
The Power of Attorney Service
A Power of Attorney service can assist you in creating a POA document and ensuring that it is legally binding. This service typically includes a review of your situation, a consultation to determine your needs and goals, and the preparation of a customized POA document that meets your needs. The service may also include a notary public to notarize the document and a secure storage solution to keep the document safe.
Benefits of a Power of Attorney
There are many benefits to having a POA in place, including:
Peace of mind: Knowing that your affairs will be taken care of in the event of your incapacity can provide you with peace of mind.
Avoidance of guardianship proceedings: If you become incapacitated and do not have a POA in place, a court may appoint a guardian to manage your affairs. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
Flexibility: You can specify the powers that the attorney-in-fact may exercise and revoke the POA at any time if necessary.
Cost savings: Engaging a Power of Attorney service can be more cost-effective than hiring a lawyer to draft the document from scratch.