Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to assign one or more persons to act on your behalf in a legal sense. The document can be limited to a single event or be put into effect for long-term needs. It can be written so that it becomes effective as soon as the document is signed, on a specific date in the future or in at some time in the future after a specific event or contingency (i.e. if you should become disabled).
The person for whom the document is created is called the principal, who grants the authority to the attorney in fact. The document can be used to allow the person to conduct business transactions, make medical decisions, write checks or handle other financial matters.
There are two categories of powers of attorney:
Durable Power of Attorney
- The durable power of attorney is far reaching and encompasses all your business and financial matters
Limited Power of Attorney
- A limited power of attorney allows someone to act in your interest in regard to a particular transaction described in the document. This includes medical power of attorney that allows a person to make decisions related to your medical care in the event you become unable to do so.
Terminating a Power of Attorney
As long as the person who executed the document is competent to manage their own legal affairs, they may revoke the power of attorney at any time. Whenever possible, you should collect the original document and any copies to avoid confusion or misrepresentation.
There are many other issues that you should consider when preparing for the future. Consulting with your family members and an attorney is only prudent when dealing with such emotional and serious matters. Your lawyer can help you make sure your wishes are met and your family is taken care of in the event that something should happen to you.
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