The first thing you need to do if you want a power of attorney is to select someone you trust to take care of your affairs if you can't and when you can't. A power of attorney document can allow someone else to take care of financial matters, make health care decisions, or care for your children. Many states have official power of attorney documents that are easy to use, but it's wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form. Why would anyone give such overwhelming authority to another person? One answer is convenience.
If you are buying or selling assets and do not want to appear in person to close the transaction, you can take advantage of a power of attorney. Another important reason for using a power of attorney is to prepare for situations where you cannot act on your own behalf due to an absence or incapacity. In this situation, the agent can perform almost any act as principal, such as opening financial accounts and managing personal finances. A general power of attorney agreement ends when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney, or dies.
Guardianship involves filing a petition, interviews with a court evaluator, and a hearing before a judge. The judge may appoint someone other than the person you chose to act on your behalf as guardian. A power of attorney allows you to name whoever your agent is. There is a non-durable, durable and emergency power of attorney.
A non-durable power of attorney takes effect immediately and remains in force until it is revoked by the principal, or until the principal becomes mentally incapable or dies. It is often used for a specific transaction, such as closing the sale of residence or handling the Principal's financial affairs while the Principal is traveling outside the country. A durable power of attorney allows the agent to act on behalf of the director even after the director is not mentally competent or physically capable of making decisions. The permanent power of attorney can be used immediately and is effective until it is revoked by the principal or until the principal's death.
By appointing an agent under a permanent or provisional power of attorney, the director is establishing a procedure for the management of his financial affairs in case of incompetence or disability. A non-durable power of attorney allows the principal to decide in advance who will make important financial and business decisions in the future. Generally, a power of attorney that is valid when you sign it will remain valid even if your status of residence changes. You can use limited POAs to give different children definite and limited powers over different aspects of their finances.
An initial power of attorney must be crafted with great care to avoid any problems by accurately identifying when the triggering event has occurred. The last will and power of attorney are powerful and important documents that give you peace of mind and protect your family. Some powers of attorney expressly include termination dates to minimize the risk of former friends or spouses continuing to serve as agents. An agent may have access to your bank accounts, the power to make donations and transfer your funds, and the ability to sell your property.
A general power of attorney gives the agent the authority to handle almost any type of legal, financial or tax matter that may arise. If you wish to give an agent the power to sell land, or to transfer or encumber the title to land in some other way, the power of attorney must be signed before a notary, who must take into account that you signed it voluntarily for the purposes mentioned therein. If you are ever asked to act as someone's agent, you should consult with an attorney about the actions you can and cannot take and if there are any precautionary measures you should take to minimize the likelihood that someone will contest your actions. When selecting an agent for a power of attorney, it's important to choose someone who understands your wishes and has your best interests at heart.
Make sure you understand what powers are being granted and what risks are involved before signing any document. Remember that signing a power of attorney that gives broad authority to an agent is a lot like signing a blank check, so make sure you choose wisely and understand the laws that apply to the document.