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Why Should I Have a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint another person or entity to act on their behalf to administer their affairs. The person who forms the power of attorney is known as the principal and the person granted the authority over the affairs is the attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney is in effect only as long as the principal is alive and it can only be enacted by a principal who is mentally competent.

You may think that once they have appointed a durable power of attorney you lose control of any decision making and how your assets are used. This is simply not true and the power of attorney only steps in if you are no longer mentally capable of running your personal, legal, and financial affairs.

A power of attorney form can be used to nominate a power of attorney to represent an individual and their affairs in several different areas should they become incapacitated.

The Three Main Roles of a Power of Attorney

  • Making medical decisions on behalf of the principal
  • Handling financial and legal matters on behalf of the principal
  • Making decisions on the behalf of someone who has lost their mental capacity

Medical decisions for the principal can take place when the person has become unable to make those decisions for themselves due to incapacitation. This can also be called an advanced care directive and it grants authority to the attorney-in-fact to make medical decisions for the principal. It does not grant any other authority or powers to the attorney-in- fact other than administering to the healthcare needs of the principal.

An attorney-in-fact is not only appointed to handle the affairs of someone who has become incapacitated but can be appointed to act on the behalf of someone to handle a transaction. If a person does not have sufficient knowledge to manage a certain financial or legal matter, they can appoint an agent to handle that particular transaction on their behalf.

A power of attorney template can be created for any number of reasons that can include signing contracts, paying bills, buying and selling of stocks and bonds, managing real estate, and just about any type of matter that a person wishes to delegate to an agent.

A power of attorney template or POA form can be used to nominate a power of attorney to represent an individual and their affairs in several different areas should they become incapacitated.

It is unfortunate that as some of us age our mental abilities may be slowly lost before our physical abilities. In other cases, physical deterioration can occur before mental incapacity. You won’t need a power of attorney if you are confined to a wheelchair or even bed-ridden provided your mental capacity is intact. A power of attorney needs to be prepared before you succumb to senility or dementia. The power of attorney completed in time ensures that your personal affairs are attended to when you no longer have the ability to manage them on your own. This includes legal and financial matters. This can prevent financial and family problems from occurring, especially if there has been inadequate estate planning by you, the principal.

How Flexible is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney has often been thought of as a tool that is utilized to administer an individual's affairs only when that person becomes incapacitated or is unable to effectively manage their own interests. Many people believe that a power of attorney is only used as a last resort when people can no longer make decisions for themselves. The reality is that a printable power of attorney is a very flexible legal instrument that can be utilized in many different scenarios to assist people in both day-to-day affairs as well as complex legal arrangements.

A power of attorney, while still a critical tool for managing the estate and affairs of incapacitated loved ones, has also evolved into a useful mechanism that allows individuals to grant authority to professionals with specialized skills, who can represent them in business, legal, and financial arenas that require specific knowledge the individual might not have. This allows people to level the playing field when it comes to dealing with larger institutions that have paid professional staff dedicated to acting on their behalf.

How to Create a Power of Attorney

Do you need a POA? Simply use this power of attorney form to create your legal documents online in minutes.