A permanent power of attorney is an alternative to guardianship only if it is granted before you become mentally incapacitated. To grant a power of attorney, you must have the mental capacity to understand what you are doing. Once you've lost that capacity, it's too late for you to grant a power of attorney. At that time, the court will have to appoint a guardian or conservator for you, if necessary.
To make your POA legally binding, sign and execute your document in accordance with the laws of your state. This usually involves signing in front of witnesses or having it notarized. Consider giving your agent a copy or letting them know where they can find a copy if needed. If you wish to give an agent the power to sell land, or to transfer or encumber title to land in some other way, the power of attorney must be signed before a notary, who must note that he signed it voluntarily for the purposes mentioned therein.
If you do not qualify for free legal aid, lawyers who work with wills and estates, or who refer to their area of practice as elder law, should be aware of powers of attorney. It is prudent to include in the power of attorney a clear statement of whether you want your agent to have these powers. If you own real estate, such as a vacation home, or valuable personal property, such as collectibles, in a second state, you should consult with an attorney to ensure that your power of attorney adequately covers such assets. Whichever method you choose, the process of doing the POA will include granting your agent full powers or selecting, from a list, the specific powers you want your agent to have.
Unless your power of attorney specifically says otherwise, your agent's power of attorney ends if you become mentally incapacitated. The authority that a power of attorney gives to your agent may be as limited as selling your car for you or as broad as making financial and health care decisions on your behalf. If you talk to your professional lawyer about this, they will ensure that you get a durable power of attorney. You can start the process of establishing a power of attorney by searching for an attorney who specializes in family law in your state.
Although it shouldn't be necessary to sign a new power of attorney simply because you've moved to a new state, it's a good idea to take the opportunity to update your power of attorney. Now some lawyers may call you a de facto lawyer, and there are other names for it, but basically the de facto lawyer and the agent are the same person. If you are using the power of attorney for a real estate transaction, you must register with the Registrar of Deeds office before or at the same time as the deed of the property being bought or sold. You can grant power of attorney to two or more people at the same time, or you can appoint a second agent to take over in specific circumstances (such as the death of the first agent).
A power of attorney (POA) is a legally binding document that allows you to designate someone to manage your property, medical or financial matters. While some states allow de facto lawyers to make donations as a matter of statute, others require explicit authorization in the power of attorney. However, if you're granting important powers of attorney to an agent, it's wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form.