We all know that life is unpredictable, and anything can happen at any moment. But have you ever had the thought of who will handle your affairs when you lose the capacity to do so due to illness, accident, or due to your age? While we tend to push these grim possibilities to the back of our minds, the truth is that these situations will eventually become a reality. Knowing that a trustworthy person will handle your affairs and look out for you and your family's interests brings you peace of mind and the courage to be prepared for such situations. Power of attorney is a great way to legally prevent people from taking advantage of your situation and entrusting the management of your affairs to a person you know and trust. Although it sounds simple, creating an airtight power of attorney document according to your requirements can be difficult. Hiring a power of attorney lawyer is the best way to create an enforceable and effective power of attorney document.
Power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint an entity (an individual or organization) to manage your medical, healthcare, financial, and property affairs when you are incapable of doing so due to accident, illness, or old age. Power of attorney is an agreement between two parties – a principal and attorney, also known as an agent. Principal is the legal term used for the person who wishes to appoint a person to handle their affairs. The attorney is a legal term used to define the entity that legally takes charge of the principal’s affairs.
Besides granting a power of attorney to be prepared for unexpected situations and the effects of age, it is a good idea to have someone take charge of your affairs if:
There are various types of power of attorney you can choose from depending on your requirements. However, the most sought-after types of power of attorney are:
You can choose limited or special power of attorney if you want to give a person limited power over your affairs. Typically, a limited power of attorney is granted to allow an agent to handle business transactions, collecting debts, selling property, and managing real estate when you are unable to handle it due to your absence or health reasons.
Granting an agent the general power of attorney gives them broad-ranging powers that you have. These powers include handling business, buying gifts, settling claims, employing professional help, managing finances, and buying life insurance. A general power of attorney is an excellent tool if you are out of the country and need someone to take charge in your absence or you fear being mentally or physically incapable of handling your affairs.
Durable power of attorneys can be general or limited in scope. The aspect that differentiates a durable power of attorney from other types is that it remains in effect even if you become mentally incapacitated. Creating a durable power of attorney is no different from drafting an ordinary power of attorney. You only need to include wording that implies that a power of attorney will continue to stay in effect even if you are mentally incapacitated. You can also name a specific physician or doctor who you wish should determine your competency if the need arises or set a condition requiring two licensed physicians to agree on your mental incapacitation.
Springing power of attorney becomes enforceable at a future date when a specific event occurs. The event can be the principal's incapacitation or the occurrence of a triggering event in their absence that needs to be immediately acted upon. Due to its nature, the springing power of attorney is also known as a conditional power of attorney. Springing power of attorney can be durable, non-durable, general, or limited based on your requirements. Your requirements may not necessarily fit in the aforementioned types. But you can get your POA customized according to your requirements.
The legal requirements for creating and granting a power of attorney vary from state to state. But the basic requirements that need to be met across states are:
The power of attorney document should comply with state laws to be enforceable. This means your power of attorney should comply with the laws of the state you permanently reside in. If you plan to write the power of attorney document yourself, you need to follow these steps:
Each state has different laws governing the power of attorney documents. In most states, different statutes are implemented on different power of attorneys. This means that the statutes applicable to a financial power of attorney will be different from statutes applicable to a medical power of attorneys. The best way to research state law is to visit their official website and learn more about the applicable statutes.
Every power of attorney document should have the following basic information:
The last and final step for making a power of attorney effective is to get the document notarized in the presence of at least two witnesses. In most states, the witnesses should be unrelated to each other and be people other than the notary and the attorney, in fact.
Here is how hiring power of attorney lawyer can benefit you:
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