What is a Power of Attorney (POA)
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What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

Just about everyone is going to need a power of attorney eventually. Discover what a power of attorney does, how to acquire one, and why you need one.

Power of attorney (POA) are documentation that permits you to name an individual or organization to administer your property, financial and/or medical affairs should you become incapable to do so.

Nevertheless, all POAs aren’t created equally. Each kind enables your attorney-in-fact—the individual that will be making decisions for you—a different degree of control.

What Is a General Power of Attorney?

A general power of attorney grants broad powers to an individual or organization (called an attorney-in-fact or agent) to act for you. These powers comprise of administering financial and business transactions, purchase of life insurance, settling claims, administering business interests, providing gifts, and utilizing professional assistance.

General power of attorney is an effective device should you be out of the country and need an individual to manage specific issues, or when you are physically and/or mentally unable to manage your affairs. A general power of attorney is usually included in estate plans to guarantee an individual can manage financial affairs.

What Is a Special Power of Attorney?

You can stipulate exactly what powers your agent can utilize by signing a special power of attorney. This is usually used if one is unable to handle specific affairs because of other commitments or for health reasons.

The sale of property (personal and tangible), administering real estate, gathering debts, and administering business transactions are some of the more general issues specified in special power of attorney documentation.

What Is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

Health care power of attorney bestows your agent authority to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unconscious, mentally incapable, or otherwise not capable in making decisions for yourself.

Whereas not the same as a living will, a lot of states permit you to include your choice about you being kept on life support. Many states are going to permit you to merge parts of your health care power of attorney and living will into an advanced health care directive.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Imagine you become mentally incapacitated because of illness or an accident while you have a power of attorney in effect. Is the document going to remain valid? To protect against any major issues, you are able to sign a durable power of attorney. This is just a general, special, or health care power of attorney that contains a durability stipulation to retain the present power of attorney in effect.

You may also want to sign a durable power of attorney to get ready for the potential that you might become mentally incapable because of illness or injury. Detail in the power of attorney that it will not go into effect until a doctor declares you as mentally incapable. You may designate a particular doctor that you wish to determine your ability or require that 2 licensed physicians agree on your mental condition.

How Do I Decide on the Right Power of Attorney?

Trust is a primary factor when deciding on your agent for your power of attorney. If the agent chosen is a friend, family member, organization, or lawyer, you should find an individual that is going to look out for the best interests of you, honor your wishes, and will not abuse the powers granted to them.

It is critical for an agent to retain factual records of each of the transactions done for you and to give you periodic updates for keeping you up to date. When you are unable to examine updates on your own, direct your agent to provide an account to a 3rd party.

As for being liable legally, an agent is held responsible only for deliberate misconduct, not for inadvertently doing something wrong. This safeguarding is included in power of attorney documents to promote individuals to accept agent obligations. Agents are not usually compensated; some or all do it as a favor.

Should you, a friend, or family member are questionable about the misconduct on part of your agent, report the suspicious abuse to the police and speak with a lawyer right away.

Am I Able to Name Multiple Powers of Attorney?

Whereas you can name multiple agents, decide if these agents need to act together or independently in making decisions. Having several agents can guarantee more sensible decisions, acting as balance of forces towards one another. The disadvantage is that multiple agents can come to disagreements and one person’s schedule could possibly delay important transactions or the signing of legal paperwork.

When you only name one agent, be sure to have an alternate. Agents can get sick, get in an accident, or somehow can’t serve at the right time. Your successor agent takes on power of attorney obligations from the original agent, when required.

Could My Choice of Power of Attorney Be In Question?

A power of attorney is legitimate only when you are mentally able at the time you sign it and, in such cases, incompetent as it gets carried out. When you believe your mental capability might be in question, be sure to have a doctor confirm it in writing. When your power of attorney doesn’t clarify requirements for establishing mental competency, your agent is still going to need a doctor’s written proof of your incompetence in order to conduct business for you. A court might even be required to determine the competency matter depending on the situation.

How Am I Able to Make My Selection of a Power of Attorney Legally-Binding?

You are required to sign and have the initial power of attorney documentation notarized and have multiple copies certified. Financial institutions and other businesses are not going to permit your agent to act on your behalf unless they’re provided with a certified copy of the power of attorney.

Lawyers are not required to execute a power of attorney. Nevertheless, it is suggested to consult one for guidance about the powers being awarded, to offer counsel on your prospect agent, and to be sure your documentation fulfills all legal requirements.

Don’t forget, you can revoke a power of attorney anytime you wish. Just notify your agent in writing and collect every copy of your power of attorney. Give notice to any financial institutions and the office of the County Clerk, when relevant, that your agent’s power of attorney has been rescinded.

Requiring a power of attorney is just as undeniable as death and taxes in everyone’s lives. Illness, accidents, old age, or day to day lively obligations happen to each of us. It is vital to know what a power of attorney is and how it can help in managing your issues, even when you are not able to.


  1. Rice, B. (2021, May 05). What is a power of attorney (poa)? Retrieved June 04, 2021, from https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/what-is-a-power-of-attorney

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