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The Importance of Power of Attorney

Posted by Dana Law Group on July 19, 2020

Power of Attorney: A Crucial Tool for Ensuring a Happier Future

For many individuals, the idea of wanting to have their wishes obeyed, without any way of making it happen, represents a kind of nightmare. You can avoid this sense of helplessness and minimize any confusion over your affairs by drawing up a Power of Attorney (POA) document. Let’s take a look at this crucial legal tool to see exactly how it can benefit you and your loved ones.

What Is Power of Attorney?

Broadly defined, Power of Attorney is a documented, formal legal agreement in which you appoint a trusted friend, relative, legal professional, or another individual to serve as your “attorney-in-fact.” In this capacity, the individual may make decisions related to your affairs and then act on them as your official agent when you cannot handle these affairs yourself.

Types of POA Documents

POA documents fall into four primary categories. These categories include:

  1. General Power of Attorney – This wide-ranging option grants power of attorney over every aspect of your life, allowing the entrusted individual to serve as your proxy in all matters. This form of POA only extends until you die or become incapacitated.
  2. Limited Power of Attorney – Limited Power of Attorney grants power in a much narrower manner than General Power of Attorney. You might create this form of POA to deal with one specific type of decision or action on a temporary basis, such as the power to sign for a particular type of expenses or close a specific real estate deal.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney – Durable Power of Attorney picks up where General Power of Attorney leaves off. While it goes into effect before you become incapacited, it stays in effect even after incapacitation. You may either grant wide-ranging powers or limit the parameters of this agreement in specific ways.
  4. Springing Power of Attorney – Unlike a durable Power of Attorney, which becomes effective from the moment you create it, a Springing Power of Attorney goes into effect only after you have become incapacitated and then remaining in effect until your death.

The Need to Take Timely Action

Many people think of a POA as something that they can safely put off until they’re old or infirm. In reality, you may need various kinds of POAs at any stage of life, especially if you’re frequently unavailable to take care of legal or financial details in person. Additionally, you can never predict when a sudden crisis might incapacitate you.

Although you retain the legal right to change or even revoke a POA document, you should make certain that the document reflects your wishes as precisely as possible. This holds especially true for a Springing Power of Attorney, since you may be physically or mentally unable to express your wishes after this document has gone into effect. You should also review your POA periodically to see whether recent life changes call for amendments to it.

Skilled legal advice can help you avoid any missteps in your creation of a POA and help you keep that POA up to date. Contact our office today to set up initial consultation.