A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to act on your behalf. power of attorney can be useful for seniors and others who want to choose a trusted person to act when they are unable to do so. A power of attorney (POA) authorizes another person to handle certain matters, such as finances or health care, on your behalf. If a power of attorney is durable, it will remain in force if you become incapacitated, for example due to illness or accident.
It is often convenient, or even necessary, for someone else to act on your behalf. You can give someone the legal authority to act on your behalf with a document called a power of attorney. If you grant a power of attorney, you are called the principal and the person to whom you give it is called the agent or proxy in fact. Making a power of attorney durable means that it remains in effect even if the person they represent becomes mentally or physically incapacitated.
A court may, for example, decide whether a third person must comply with a power of attorney, it may order an agent to account to you or a third party, or it may interpret or modify the power of attorney or remove the agent. Emerging powers of attorney are not automatic, and institutions may refuse to work with the de facto lawyer. For example, if another person acts on your behalf to sell a car, the department of motor vehicles will generally require that the power of attorney be filed before the authority of your agent to sign the title is fulfilled. In addition, the person to whom the power of attorney is granted has a legal fiduciary duty to make decisions that are in the best interest of the person they represent.
A general permanent power of attorney authorizes a person to act on a wide range of legal and business matters and remains in force even if you are incapacitated. However, you should meet regularly with your attorney to review your power of attorney and consider whether your choice of agent still meets your needs and whether developments in state law affect your power of attorney. Similarly, an agent who signs documents to buy or sell real estate on your behalf must submit the power of attorney to the title company. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows the director to appoint an agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
A general power of attorney agreement ends when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney, or dies. With a medical power of attorney, you can designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. A problem may arise if an agent with a durable power of attorney believes that you now lack the mental capacity to act independently or cancel the power of attorney, but you disagree. Some powers of attorney expressly include termination dates to minimize the risk of former friends or spouses continuing to serve as agents.
If you have a property that is only in your name, your spouse will need a power of attorney to take legal or financial action related to that property (such as selling it). Generally, the law of the state in which you reside at the time of signing a power of attorney will govern the powers and actions of your agent under that document. Also known as a special power of attorney, this POA document limits the agent to a certain number of conditions.