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Power of Attorney Lawyer

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 interests brings you peace of mind and the courage to be prepared for such situations. Power of attorney is a great way you can 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.

What is Power of Attorney?

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 in fact, 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 in fact is a legal term used to define the entity who legally takes charge of the principal’s affairs.

Is Having a Power of Attorney Necessary?

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:

  • You travel extensively
  • You are in actively serving in the military
  • You work in dangerous jobs
  • You participate in adventure sports and are inclined to partake in risky behavior

Types of Power of Attorney

There are various types of power of attorney you can choose from depending on your requirements. The most sought-after types of power of attorney are:

Special or Limited Power of Attorney

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 due to your absence or health reasons.

General Power of Attorney

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, handling finances, and buying life insurance. A general power of attorney is a great 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 Attorney

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 continues to remain 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 the 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 in case the need arises or set a condition that requires two licensed physicians to agree on your mental incapacitation.

Springing Power of Attorney

Springing power of attorney becomes enforceable at a future date when a specific event occurs. The event can be the incapacitation of the principal 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 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.

Legal Requirements for Granting a Power of Attorney

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:

  • Soundness of Mind: The principal signing the legal document must be of sound mind and must be able to prove so. This means that the principal should understand what the document stands for and what will be the implications once it is signed. Additionally, a power of attorney is considered invalid if the principal is forced to sign the document. The principal signing the document should be doing so on their own free will without undue pressure from anyone.
  • Witnesses: Your signature on the power of attorney should be notarized in the presence of at least two witnesses. In most states, the witnesses are required to be people other than the attorney in fact who should be unrelated to each other.

Process of Granting Power of Attorney

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:

1. Research the State Law

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.

2. Fill Out the Power of Attorney Form

Every power of attorney document should have the following basic information:

  • Principal’s full name, permanent address, and phone number.
  • Attorney in fact’s full name, permanent address, and phone number.
  • Names and identities of any successor agents who will take over if the principal revokes the initial agent’s authority or the agent resigns.
  • The terms and length of the power of attorney i.e. does the power of attorney come into effect immediately or will be enforced after the occurrence of a triggering event.
  • The agent’s scope of authority. This part of the document would provide details on what decisions could the agent be able to take in your absence. You will need to define the limits on the agent’s authority or special instructions for the agent if any in this part.

3. Signing of the Document

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.

Why hire a Power of Attorney Lawyer?

Here is how hiring a power of attorney lawyer can benefit you:

  • Researching state laws and understanding the intricacies of the laws for writing a power of attorney can be a daunting task for a layman. With a legal expert, you can avoid making any mistakes and draft a power of attorney document that meets all the legal requirements of the state.
  • Most power of attorney templates available online complies with one of the recognized structure and design. Customizing these templates to meet your needs can be difficult. A power of attorney can help you draft a document that is customized and well-suited to your requirements.
  • Power of attorney lawyers can help you draft a technical and clear legal document that enforces your will and cannot be used against you.
  • A power of attorney lawyer also advises and assists you in drafting the financial and healthcare power of attorneys that ultimately become the source of your life and death.

Are you looking to get your power of attorney drafted? Fill in the form given alongside and we will help you find the best power of attorney lawyer near you to help you lay your fears at peace.