what is power of attorney

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WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY ?

 

What is a General Power of Attorney?


A Power of Attorney is the legal authority to make decisions and sign for a person who is incapacitated. Before a person becomes incapacitated, they will make the decision of how much authority the power of attorney will have. This document is made to give someone permission to make decisions on your behalf. This term often gets confused with an actual lawyer. It is imperative that person checks with his/her lawyer before signing any documents to research information about any rules and regulations in which the state that he or she resides in concerning power of attorney.


Why Should You Appoint a Power of Attorney?


One should create a power of attorney for their own safety. A power of attorney is useful to have in case you become ill, unable to make important decisions regarding finances or your health or if you are incapacitated. It is important to appoint one early on, because we can never be too sure what kinds of circumstances that life will bring us.

It is important to secure trusting and personal relationships amongst friends and family. Being able to create a trusting relationship with someone who may control your finances and health-related issues can be tricky, although if you stay with those whom you trust the most, then you shouldn't need to have to worry. Over time, our assets and financial situations become very important. It is imperative to use that our families be taken care of (should something happen later on) and that all arrangements for funerals or property transactions are taken care of properly.


Types of Power of Attorneys


There are a variety of decisions that a person with power of attorney can be allowed to make. Some of these decisions may include:

 
  • Making financial decisions
  • Making health-care decisions such as with-holding or continuing certain medical treatments, services or diagnostic procedures
  • Making donations or giving monetary gifts
  • Recommending a guardian

     

A person can normally choose between two types of power of attorneys. They are:
  • Continuing Power of Attorney/Power of Attorney for Property

     

Responsible for personal property and financial decisions


  • Power of Attorney for personal care


Responsible for health decisions that include hygiene, shelter and the right to consent to medical treatment

There is also a "General Power of Attorney." The capabilities of someone with a general power of attorney is very broad and they can do a variety of tasks. This can be anything from handling bank transactions to buying and selling property, settling claims, filing tax returns, purchasing life insurance and handling situations that deal with government benefits. An individual should decide what type of power of attorney will work best for them in their situation. Each case may be different. It could be that there could be a few different people appointed with power of attorney who will have their own responsibilities.

Who Can be the Chosen Power of Attorney?

Before a person becomes incapacitated, they can choose anybody to have power of attorney. It does not always have to necessarily be a lawyer or any other legal representative. This can be a spouse, parent, relative, child or a trusted friend. A power of attorney arrangement can also be a paid one if the person chooses to do. If a decision is not made about the financial details, a court will rule on this matter.
 

 


Securing the Power of Attorney Documentation


Once an individual has appointed someone with power of attorney and have decided what their legal responsibilities should be, it is important to secure the document and any other important forms. There are several ways to document an individual choosing the power of attorney and his/her responsibilities. One way to secure the document is to videotape the individual and the person assigned power of attorney signing the documents and going over the responsibilities and pay scale (should there be one). Then the videotape should be stored with the document. Another way to secure power of attorney is to take the documents and present it to a lawyer for review. The lawyer can then testify on the behalf of the other person and their mental capacity. A signed doctor's statement that describes the patient's state of mind at the time of the signing can also be used.

When Does a Power of Attorney's Responsibilities End?

 

What is a power of attorney is no longer needed once the individual passes away or if they should become mentally capable of making responsible choices once again. An individual revoke a power of attorney by writing a document and then presenting it to be notarized. These changes can only be made if the document hasn't been registered. If the documents have been registered, then there will be some extra steps to stop the rights of power of attorney. If that individual is no longer a part of the state that the documents were signed in, ("divorcing the state), then rights may be revoked. A written statement that revokes the rights of power of attorney can be registered at the same office where the original file was filed.


Conclusion

Most of us would feel fearful about someone else handling such important decisions, but it is necessary to carry on daily activities in the case of an unexpected accident. It is best to be prepared so that we don't leave stressful decisions on the shoulders of those whom we love. Think about every decision that you need to make every day. Then decide who would be the best person to do your "errands" when you will be unable to. While sometimes life may take unexpected turns and puts things on pause, the world around us still continues to spin. The decision who to assign power of attorney should not be taken lightly, but it should be something that you choose sooner rather than later.

 

 



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