what is power or attorney

by Collin Von 7 min read

A power of attorney form grants an attorney-in-fact the right to:

  • access the principal’s financial accounts
  • sign legal documents on the principal’s behalf
  • manage the principal’s legal and business affairs

Full Answer

What is power of attorney and how does it work?

An important part of lifetime planning is the power of attorney. A power of attorney is accepted in all states, but the rules and requirements differ from state to state. A power of attorney gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your agent. The power may be limited to a particular activity, such as closing the sale of your home, or be general in its application.

How to choose a power of attorney?

Nov 25, 2003 · A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the power to act for another person, the principal.

What does power of attorney mean?

A power of attorney (POA) is a simple document that gives someone you trust the power to act on your behalf. The person you allow to step into your shoes is called an "attorney-in-fact"—or "agent," in some states.

How to give someone power of attorney?

An attorney-in-fact is a person designated under a power of attorney to act on your behalf. Consider this individual to be a person who is authorized to do business, address legal issues, or sign documents on behalf of the person in question. Your representative might be a family member, a friend, or a lawyer.


What is power of attorney and why do you need it?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you're no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.Jan 13, 2022

What is power of attorney in simple words?

uncountable noun. Power of attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone, for example a lawyer, to act on your behalf in specified matters.

What are the 4 types of power of attorney?

AgeLab outlines very well the four types of power of attorney, each with its unique purpose:General Power of Attorney. ... Durable Power of Attorney. ... Special or Limited Power of Attorney. ... Springing Durable Power of Attorney.Jun 2, 2017

What is the rule of power of attorney?

Every act performed by the agent within the authority of the Power of Attorney is legally binding upon the persons granting it. A power of attorney must be given only to a trustworthy person, and only when it is absolutely necessary.

What are the disadvantages of power of attorney?

What Are the Disadvantages of a Power of Attorney?A Power of Attorney Could Leave You Vulnerable to Abuse. ... If You Make Mistakes In Its Creation, Your Power Of Attorney Won't Grant the Expected Authority. ... A Power Of Attorney Doesn't Address What Happens to Assets After Your Death.More items...•Sep 4, 2018

What three decisions Cannot be made by a legal power of attorney?

You cannot give an attorney the power to: act in a way or make a decision that you cannot normally do yourself – for example, anything outside the law. consent to a deprivation of liberty being imposed on you, without a court order.

Do you need a lawyer to get a power of attorney?

Do I need a lawyer to prepare a Power of Attorney? There is no legal requirement that a Power of Attorney be prepared or reviewed by a lawyer. However, if you are going to give important powers to an agent, it is wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form.

What is the most powerful power of attorney?

General Durable Power of Attorney Definition A general durable power of attorney both authorizes someone to act in a wide range of legal and business matters and remains in effect even if you are incapacitated. The document is also known as a durable power of attorney for finances.Jul 13, 2021

Who makes decisions if no power of attorney?

If you have not given someone authority to make decisions under a power of attorney, then decisions about your health, care and living arrangements will be made by your care professional, the doctor or social worker who is in charge of your treatment or care.Mar 30, 2020

How long is a power of attorney valid for?

It must be signed by the grantor and 2 witnesses and will remain valid until such time as it is revoked, when the mandate is completed or where the agent or grantor passed away, is sequestrated or becomes mentally unfit.Aug 28, 2019

Who can get power of attorney?

The person appointed to act on behalf of the donor is called an attorney. Anyone can be an attorney, as long as: they are capable of making decisions, and. they are 18 or over.

What are the advantages of power of attorney?

Provides the ability to choose who will make decisions for you (rather than a court). If someone has signed a power of attorney and later becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions, the agent named can step into the shoes of the incapacitated person and make important financial decisions.Apr 15, 2019

What is the power of attorney in fact?

Generally, the law of the state in which you reside at the time you sign a power of attorney will govern the powers and actions of your agent under that document.

Why do you need a power of attorney?

Another important reason to use power of attorney is to prepare for situations when you may not be able to act on your own behalf due to absence or incapacity. Such a disability may be temporary, for example, due to travel, accident, or illness, or it may be permanent.

What is a springing power of attorney?

The power may take effect immediately, or only upon the occurrence of a future event, usually a determination that you are unable to act for yourself due to mental or physical disability. The latter is called a "springing" power of attorney.

How long does a power of attorney last?

Today, most states permit a "durable" power of attorney that remains valid once signed until you die or revoke the document.

Who is Michael Douglas' wife?

Assume Michael Douglas appoints his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, as his agent in a written power of attorney. Catherine, as agent, must sign as follows: Michael Douglas, by Catherine Zeta-Jones under POA or Catherine Zeta-Jones, attorney-in-fact for Michael Douglas. If you are ever called upon to take action as someone’s agent, ...

Can an attorney in fact make gifts?

Gifts are an important tool for many estate plans, and your attorney-in-fact can make gifts on your behalf, subject to guidelines that you set forth in your power of attorney. For example, you may wish to permit your attorney-in-fact to make "annual exclusion" gifts (up to $14,000 in value per recipient per year in 2013) on your behalf ...

Can a power of attorney be revoked?

A power of attorney may be revoked, but most states require written notice of revocation to the person named to act for you. The person named in a power of attorney to act on your behalf is commonly referred to as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact.". With a valid power of attorney, your agent can take any action permitted in the document.

When should a power of attorney be considered?

A power of attorney should be considered when planning for long-term care. There are different types of POAs that fall under either a general power of attorney or limited power of attorney . A general power of attorney acts on behalf of the principal in any and all matters, as allowed by the state.

Why do you need a power of attorney?

There are many good reasons to make a power of attorney, as it ensures that someone will look after your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. You should choose a trusted family member, a proven friend, or a reputable and honest professional.

Why does a power of attorney end?

A power of attorney can end for a number of reasons, such as when the principal dies, the principal revokes it, a court invalidates it, the principal divorces their spouse, who happens to be the agent, or the agent can no longer carry out the outlined responsibilities. Conventional POAs lapse when the creator becomes incapacitated.

What is Durable POA?

A “durable” POA remains in force to enable the agent to manage the creator’s affairs, and a “springing” POA comes into effect only if and when the creator of the POA becomes incapacitated. A medical or healthcare POA enables an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person.

How to start a power of attorney?

A better way to start the process of establishing a power of attorney is by locating an attorney who specializes in family law in your state. If attorney's fees are more than you can afford, legal services offices staffed with credentialed attorneys exist in virtually every part of the United States.

Who is Julia Kagan?

Julia Kagan has written about personal finance for more than 25 years and for Investopedia since 2014. The former editor of Consumer Reports, she is an expert in credit and debt, retirement planning, home ownership, employment issues, and insurance.

Why do parents need POAs?

Ask parents to create POAs for the sake of everyone in the family—including the children and grandchildren— who may be harmed by the complications and costs that result if a parent is incapacitated without a durable POA in place to manage the parent’s affairs.

Learn the ins and outs of creating a POA and choosing an agent

A power of attorney (POA) is a simple document that gives someone you trust the power to act on your behalf. The person you allow to step into your shoes is called an "attorney-in-fact"—or "agent," in some states.

What Type of POA Should I Make?

Power of attorneys can address a variety of situations. You can create a POA for a single transaction (for example, authorizing your brother to sell your car for you while you're out of town) or a long-term, "durable" one that will allow someone to handle your financial or health matters if you ever become incapacitated.

How Do I Choose an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact?

For a financial power of attorney, usually any competent adult can serve as your agent. This person need not be a financial expert, but certainly you'll want to choose someone who has a good dose of common sense, and whom you trust completely. In addition, consider these factors:

How Do I Create a POA?

You can make your own power of attorney, but your document needs to be valid in your particular state because each state has its own set of requirements. The good news is that state-specific power of attorney forms are readily available, either from your state government or through guided software programs such as Nolo's Willmaker.

When Does a Power of Attorney Begin and End?

If you made a durable financial power of attorney (the most common POAs made as part of an estate plan), the document usually goes into effect immediately after you've signed it and had it witnessed or notarized. In practice, of course, you can instruct your agent not to use the POA until you are incapacitated.

Can You Help a Loved One Make a POA?

You can nudge or help your loved ones to create their own POA; people often find themselves helping their elderly parents with these documents. Be aware that the person you're helping must have the mental capacity to understand generally what the POA is and what it does. See Helping an Elder Make a Power of Attorney for a more in-depth discussion.

What is a financial power of attorney?

A Financial Power of Attorney designates an agent the authority to make financial decisions and act on your behalf should you not be able to. This type of POA can be broad or very specific. It’s another title for General POA, and could typically grant all the same actions listed above.

What is a POA?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is an incredibly important piece of your Estate Planning efforts. Your POA allows you to appoint another person, known as an “agent,” to act in your place. An agent can step in to make financial, medical or other major life decisions should you become incapacitated and no longer able to do so.

When does a POA end?

A General POA: General POAs end as soon as you are incapacitated. While this tool is great for many things in life, it is not a solid option for end-of-life decisions. A Durable POA: A durable POA stays in effect until you pass away or revoke its power.

What is a fiduciary POA?

The person you appoint as your Power of Attorney is known as a fiduciary someone who is responsible for managing the affairs of another. Depending on the type of POA that’s in effect, the powers your agent can exercise could have a wide range of authority. At the most basic level, your POA will act on your behalf if you become unable to do so ...

Can you have more than one power of attorney?

Yes, you can appoint more than one Power of Attorney. If you designate more than one person, be sure to clearly note how you want them to act. You can specify if they must act jointly or if they can act independently. If you only choose one POA, you should consider having a backup designation.

What is a health POA?

Health POAs allow you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf regarding health-related matters. A Financial POA does this for all other financial-related issues in your life. Decisions could be in relation to business or personal financial issues, or a combination of the two.

Is a Power of Attorney the same as a Living Will?

Keep in mind that a Healthcare Power of Attorney is not necessarily the same thing as a Living Will. Some states allow certain preferences to be included in a Living Will, such as whether or not you’d want to be on life support.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that creates a legally binding agreement between two parties — a principal and an attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney form grants an attorney-in-fact the right to: access the principal’s financial accounts. sign legal documents on the principal’s behalf. manage the principal’s legal and business affairs.

How to act as an attorney in fact?

access the principal’s financial accounts. sign legal documents on the principal’s behalf. manage the principal’s legal and business affairs. As an attorney-in-fact, you must act in the principal’s best interest, and adhere to their wishes when signing documents for them. This means doing what the principal would want you to do, no matter what.

How to sign a POA?

Step 1: Bring Your Power of Attorney Agreement and ID. When signing as a POA, you need to bring the original power of attorney form to the meeting — even if you’ve already registered a copy of the document with the institution (such as a bank, financial agency, or a government institution). You also need to bring government-issued photo ...

Who is Mollie Moric?

Mollie Moric is a staff writer at Legal Templates. She translates complex legal concepts into easy to understand articles that empower readers in their legal pursuits. Her legal advice and analysis...

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a trustworthy person (called the agent) to make decisions for another person (called the principal) who is unable to do so. Solve My Problem. Get Started. There are different types of POAs, such as:

What is a POA?

It is terminated once the principal becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. Durable POA. Lets the agent make decisions in the principal’s stead before and after incapacity.

What is the job of a principal?

Acts in the principal’s best interest. Keeps a record of receipts, payments, and transactions conducted for the principal. Introduces themselves as an agent whenever acting in the principal’s stead. Acts on the principal’s behalf if they become mentally impaired. Signs checks for the principal.

How long does a conservatorship last?

There are two types of conservatorships: Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorship —This type of conservatorship lasts for 30 days. In case the conservatee remains incapacitated, the appointment is prolonged to a year. An LPS conservatorship can be renewed annually or ended if there’s no more need for it.