Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document conveying specific or broad powers to act as “attorney-in-fact” or agent on behalf of another. In order for the to be effective the person transferring power must have “capacity” or the cognitive ablity to understand what he or she is doing and the consequence. POA’s can be for a specific period of time as well as for an indefinite term.
As part of any elder estate planning the individual should consider executing a POA if health or capacity is failing in order to avoid the need for guardianship later.
There are many circumstances where a POA should be considered beside for an aging parent. POA’s are also useful when a person is just unavailable or physically incapably of being available. Often they are used when military members are deployed or PCS to permit the spouse to conduct the financial affairs of the military member. They are also used when a physical handicap or a person is bed-ridden and unable to physically appear to execute documents. In the real estate world, a limited power of attorney is often use to permit a realtor or closing agent to execute document on behalf of one of the parties.
A POA is valid until is expires or is revoked by the conferring party. The powers that are bestowed on the attorney-in-fact should be reviewed and considered carefully. Executing a template POA from the internet is a hazardous choice no matter how much confidence you have in the person you are appointing. Without proper guidance by an estate attorney the executing party may find that they have transferred greater power than they understood and therefore have greater risk.
Have a qualified estate attorney create, review, and help you execute a valid, well-designed power of attorney to insure you are protected.