What Power of Attorney Do I Need and How to Get It

Learn what power of attorney is and how it works in different states. Find out how to get a power of attorney document and what types exist.

What Power of Attorney Do I Need and How to Get It

When you need someone to take care of your affairs, the first step is to select a trustworthy person and get a power of attorney (POA). A POA document allows another person to make financial decisions, health care decisions, or care for your children on your behalf. Many states have official POA documents that are easy to use. With this agreement, the agent can perform almost any act as principal, such as opening financial accounts and managing personal finances.

However, a general POA agreement ends when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney, or dies. It is not legally required to have an attorney prepare or review a power of attorney. But if you are granting important powers of attorney to an agent, it is wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form. A person who signs a POA without fully understanding what it means and without considering risks and alternatives may face trouble in the future.

A POA can also be useful when you are healthy. For example, if you want someone with experience to manage a property or negotiate a deal for you, you can give them the authority to do so. A comprehensive estate plan must include a power of attorney. Pennsylvania authorizes a “durable POA”, meaning that powers granted to another person are exercisable regardless of the person's disability or subsequent disability.

To create a POA, you must be an adult who is healthy and able to understand the powers you are granting to your agent. Unfortunately, people often postpone signing a POA until age or illness reduces their capacity, so they can no longer legally grant a POA. In these cases, the family must file a petition for guardianship, which is much more complicated and costly. In addition, their wishes are no longer respected; the court chooses the person acting on their behalf. If they are unable to sign or are not sure they are in their right mind, you should consult with a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania. Your agent for obtaining a financial POA will have the power to use your property or money and will legally bind you with your actions.

If no land is to be treated, it is not legally necessary to sign a POA in front of a notary or have it registered, but notarization may be prudent. Unless your POA specifically says otherwise, your agent's power of attorney ends if you become mentally incapacitated. A financial POA is a POA that allows an agent to make decisions related to the director's finances, property, and personal care. California has specific rules about types and requirements for obtaining a POA. If you select an agent for a general permanent power of attorney, your agent will have a lot of responsibility for a variety of tasks and that responsibility could be for an extended period of time. You must choose who will act as your agent and specify what powers you are giving your agent (what your agent can do for you).

Estate Trial Attorney helps file objections to Accounting, often followed by discovery. If your spouse is your agent, the power of attorney will end on the day the court grants you a divorce; however, if you are going through divorce proceedings, you probably no longer want your spouse to have control of your assets. FindLaw has partnered with experienced lawyers to create financial power of attorney forms that you can fill out quickly and easily from the comfort of your own home. Specifically authorized powers may be especially important for married people concerned about what would happen if one spouse became ill and needed care in nursing homes or other long-term care.