What is a Power of Attorney? I The Property Fox Leicester
Posted on 21st October 2022
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to authorize someone else to act on your behalf.
This person is known as your "attorney-in-fact" or agent. You can choose anyone you trust to be your agent, including a family member, friend, or lawyer.
POAs are often used in estate planning, but they can also be helpful in other situations, such as when you're traveling abroad or if you become incapacitated and can't make decisions for yourself - POAs are especially important if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
If you do not have a POA in place, then the court will appoint a guardian to make decisions for you.
There are two types of POAs: general and limited.
A general POA gives your agent broad powers to handle your affairs, while a limited POA only allows them to take specific actions on your behalf.
For example, you could give someone a limited POA to sell your car while you're out of town.
Why would you need a power of attorney?
There are many reasons why you might need to give someone a POA. For example:
· If you're going to be out of town for an extended period of time, you may want to give someone a POA so they can take care of your affairs in your absence.
· If you have a medical condition that could cause you to become incapacitated, you may want to give someone a POA so they can make decisions for you if you're unable to do so yourself.
· If you're elderly or have cognitive impairments, you may want to give someone a POA so they can help you with day-to-day tasks, such as paying bills and managing your finances.
· If you own a business, you may want to give someone a POA so they can handle business matters if you're unable to do so yourself.
How to choose a power of attorney
When choosing someone to be your agent, it's important to pick someone you trust.
This person will have a lot of power over your affairs, so it's important to choose someone who you're confident will act in your best interests.
You can name more than one person to be your agent, and you can also name alternate agents in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.
It's also a good idea to choose someone who lives close to you, so they can easily handle your affairs if necessary.
What are the duties of a power of attorney?
If you give someone a POA, you're essentially giving them the legal authority to act on your behalf.
This means they can make decisions and take actions that you could normally take yourself.
For example, if you give someone a general POA, they may be able to:
· Pay your bills
· Manage your bank accounts and investments
· Handle your taxes
· Give gifts on your behalf
· Apply for government benefits on your behalf
· Make medical decisions for you
· Handle your day-to-day affairs
Of course, the specific powers you give your agent will depend on the type of POA you create. If you only want them to be able to handle a specific task, such as selling your car, then you can create a limited POA that only gives them the authority to do that one thing.
Can you deny being someone's power of attorney?
You can't be forced to be someone's agent, so if you don't want to serve in this role, you can simply refuse.
However, keep in mind that if the person who appointed you is unable to make decisions for themselves and doesn't have another agent, the court will appoint a guardian to make decisions for them.
How to revoke a power of attorney
If you change your mind about giving someone a POA, you can always revoke it. To do this, you'll need to notify your agent in writing that you're revoking their authority.
You'll also need to notify any third parties, such as banks or government agencies, who are aware of the POA.
We hope this article has helped you understand what a power of attorney is and how it works.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for reading!
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