When it comes to making important decisions, having a power of attorney (POA) can be a great asset. A POA is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in financial or health care matters. In Pennsylvania, the POA must be signed by two witnesses in the presence of a notary and must contain specific language for it to be valid. It is also important to note that the POA must be dated and signed by the principal.
It is often more convenient to have two separate powers of attorney, one for financial obligations and one for health care decisions. With a power of attorney, an agent is often entrusted with important decisions, and the agent may have access to some or all of his assets. If the agent is not trusted, serious problems can arise. For example, if the agent is dishonest and runs away with his money, it may be difficult or impossible to get the money back.
No power of attorney document is legally binding before it is signed and executed in accordance with the laws of your state. This means that no agent can make decisions on your behalf before the POA document goes into effect. You must also be in your right mind when you appoint an agent. 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).
If you and the agent disagree, your decision governs. This means that decisions are announced at the same time. If an agent has decided to sell a property item and has sold it, their subsequent announcement that they do not want to sell it does not void the sale. When you sign as a power of attorney for someone, you should be aware that you are legally signing on their behalf. In Pennsylvania, most powers of attorney must contain specific language, such as a notice to the principal, to be valid.
You must specify in the power of attorney document which powers you are granting to your agent and when those powers will come into effect. It is important to notify your bank, doctor, or anyone else who has received a copy of your power of attorney. In an effort to comply with best practices, documents signed with a power of attorney must be accompanied by the original POA that will be recorded at the same time, or a book and page must be included in the document, or a copy of the POA must be recorded as an attachment to the document. If no land is to be treated, it is not legally necessary to sign a power of attorney in front of a notary or have it registered, but notarization may be prudent. However, generally, your agent should not need to present the power of attorney when signing checks on your behalf. Obtaining a power of attorney in Pennsylvania is not as easy as in some states because the Pennsylvania legislature has not created a form for a financial power of attorney. There are many good reasons to make a power of attorney, as it ensures that someone will take care of your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Because a power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you can have, it's important to know if you want a durable or regular power of attorney.
You can see more information about creating a power of attorney in the following infographic.