Power of Attorneys – Prepared Same Day

The World English Dictionary defines a Power of Attorney as: 1.) Legal authority to act for another person in certain specified matters. 2.) The document conferring such authority.

A power of attorney, also referred to as a POA, is a legal document that allows a person, known as the “principal”, to designate another individual, known as the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”, to act on their behalf. A power of attorney either gives a broad set of powers or limited powers usually related to a single issue.

Preparing ahead before any possible mental and physical incapacity are not the only reasons why someone would want a power of attorney. Other circumstances in life may trigger the desire or need for a POA. For instance, a military member might create a power of attorney before being deployed overseas so that another individual can act on his or her behalf while they are away. Similarly, those who travel frequently might have someone handle their affairs while they are out of the country. Despite this, powers of attorney are commonly established when a person is elderly or is facing a serious health crisis.

Planning Matters Now More Than Ever

The novel coronavirus disease has presented the world with very serious challenges, of those of which some people have lost the control of their own matters. It is always a good option to plan ahead and designate a person who can make important decisions and act in the event of a debilitating medical condition.

The Consequences of Lacking a Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney is not only reassuring during unprecedented times, but it is also an instrument that protects the real estate and other financial and legal interests of the principal. When a sudden medical condition causes incapacitation and a POA was not prepared, the principal’s family may be forced into time-consuming and even costly delays in court.

Principals need to sign a power of attorney themselves when they are mentally competent. It is important to note that a POA cannot be obtained by family members when they realize their elderly relative is not able to manage his or her affairs. If this occurs, the family members might have to get a court order for a conservatorship. The person appointed might not be the person the principal would have chosen. Also, while a spouse has legal authority over most issues, spouses do not have the right to make certain decisions without prior written consent. A power of authority can grant spouses more legal authority.

There are Different Types of Power of Attorney

There are multiple types of powers of attorney, along with varying degrees of responsibility that can be given to another. The varying types of power of attorney include:

General Power of Attorney – The “general power of attorney” provides broad and extensive powers to act. A general power of attorney grants agents the ability to make payments, sell assets to cover medical care costs, and take steps to plan for the care of the agent. Under a general power of attorney, the agent may be authorized to look after the principal’s bank accounts, file the principal’s taxes, or handle other various financial and legal matters, not including making medical dections.

Special Power of Attorney – A “special power of attorney” provides only specific powers to act and is sometimes referred to as a “limited power of attorney”. A person with a special power of attorney can only act in situations predetermined by the power of attorney. For instance, in a situation where a married couple is purchasing a home and one of the spouses is working out of state during the transaction, the traveling spouse could provide a special power of attorney to the other spouse. This would grant the spouse the ability to sign documents on his or her behalf. A special power of attorney can be set for one-time use or multiple uses.

Durable Power of Attorney – A “durable power of attorney” allows the powers to remain in effect when the signer is no longer mentally competent. Although the durable power of attorney allows the agent the ability to make medical payments on behalf of the principal, the agent cannot make health-related decisions for the principal.

Springing Power of Attorney – The “springing power of attorney” provides that the power to act is not effective until the signer is determined to be mentally incompetent as confirmed in writing signed by a physician. Consequently, the springing power of attorney will only come in effect when a specific event occurs, which causes the principal to be unable to act. They can also encompass a broad number of affairs for which the principal wants to assign his or her agent.

Medical Power of Attorney – A “medical power of attorney” gives the agent the ability to communicate to the signer’s physician when the signer is no longer able to. This document is also known as an “Advance Health Care Directive” and could be set temporarily, such as for surgery complications or when under anesthesia, or long term as a result of a health crisis. A medical power of attorney will only go into effect when the principal, for whatever reason, cannot make decisions concerning his or her medical treatment.

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Cher'l Morse
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Power of Attorney – The Process

The principal can choose who to name as the agent as the person given authority in the power of attorney. Principals also have the option to name alternate agents or co-agents. In a power of attorney, broad powers can be granted so the agent handles any legal or financial transactions or limitations can be placed on the authority given. Special instructions can be given, such as the period of validity. Regardless, any power of attorney will no longer be valid upon the death of the signer.

The POA must be signed in front of a notary public, who will certify the identity of the signer. Identity must be proven with satisfactory identification. The notary also determines the signer’s awareness and willingness to sign. The signer’s thumbprint will be taken to further validate the signature and deter fraud.

Power of Attorney – The Bottom Line

The American Bar Association refers to a power of attorney as an important part of lifetime planning. Selecting a person to hold a power of attorney and specifying how the power of attorney operates even when losing capacity will ensure a plan is in place for administering personal and financial affairs when needed. A POA offers principals more control over how certain circumstances should be handled.

Without a power of attorney, a court may appoint one or more parties to make decisions on behalf of the principal. It is important to note that when a court handles the matter, the proceeding will become public. Anyone can view the file and see personal information, such as addresses, medical condition, the nature of assets and identification of family members. However, taking proactive measures to ensure a fortified power of attorney is set in place will avoid this. With a power of attorney, it is possible to choose an agent of choice and it will also define the agent’s authority and limitations.

Our Power of Attorney Service is Full Service, From Start To Finish

A power of attorney can be a very important tool, not just for the principal but for his or her family as well. When unable to handle personal affairs as a result of an accident, illness, or a simple leave of absence, the power of attorney will grant the assigned agent the power to handle personal affairs as the principal would.

If you are interested in creating a power of attorney, Just Document Preparation can assist you. As a trusted team of professionals, we can have your Power of Attorney ready to take with you on your first appointment. Our team can schedule appointments and prepare the power of attorney quickly. Depending on the situation, the power of attorney can also be prepared on the same day and they can be delivered via email or USPS priority mail. Learn more about pairing your Power of Attorney with an Advanced Healthcare Directive or Advanced Healthcare Directive & Will for added value and peace of mind. Contact us for more information today.

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