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Power of Attorney: Legal documentation that gives an attorney-in-charge or legal agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney, or POA, is a legal document giving an attorney-in-charge or legal agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal. The attorney in charge possesses the broad or limited authority to act on behalf of the principal. The agent can make decisions regarding medical care, financial matters, or property on behalf of the principal.

A power of attorney comes into play in the event that the principal is incapacitated by an illness or disability. The agent may also act on behalf of the principal in case the person is not readily available to sign off on financial or legal transactions.

The power of attorney lapses when the creator dies revokes it, or when it is invalidated by a court of law. A POA also ends when the creator divorces a spouse charged with a power of attorney or when an agent is not able to continue carrying out outlined duties.

What Does Having Power of Attorney Do?

A power of attorney is a legal status granted to somebody that allows them to act on your behalf. The person given a POA may have either broad or narrow legal authority, depending on how it is spelled out in the POA document, to make legal decisions about one’s property, finances, or medical directives.

 

Can Somebody With Power of Attorney Do Anything They Please?

No. The scope of legal authority granted by a POA is laid out when it is established. Furthermore, the person that is granted power of attorney has a legal fiduciary duty to make decisions that are in the best interests of the person for whom they are representing.

Types of Powers of Attorney

1. General Power of Attorney

The general power of attorney is a broad mandate that gives an agent a lot of power to handle the affairs of a principal. The agent or the person designated to act on behalf of the principal is charged with handling several tasks. The tasks include buying or disposing of real estate or even entering into contractual relationships on the principal’s behalf.

2. Limited or Special Power of Attorney

An individual looking to limit how much the agent can do should choose limited or special power of attorney. Before signing to notarize a limited power of attorney, a person needs to be as detailed as possible about how much the agent should handle. If an individual is not clear about what should fall under the special power of attorney, it is best to speak to a legal counsel.

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3. Durable Power of Attorney

The durable type of power of attorney is only effective during the period a person wished to get someone else to act on his or her behalf. A non-durable POA will end the moment it is revoked or when the expiration date specified arrives. However, what will happen in the event the agent becomes debilitated? Will the POA still be applicable?

In such a case, the principal would prefer that the POA remains active even if he or she becomes unable to communicate. For example, if the principal becomes comatose, but would prefer that the spouse be the agent, it can be specified in the form of a durable power of attorney. The POA gives power to the spouse to make decisions even when the principal is comatose.

4. Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney

If the principal becomes very ill, he or she reserves the right to decide the quality of care preferred. Medical or health care POA authorizes the agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal in case of a life-threatening illness. Most health POAs fall under the durable kind because they take into consideration the fact that the principal may be too sick to make their own decisions.

In all the instances above, the principal should speak to a counsel before choosing an agent. In addition, it is best for the principal to get the counsel to walk him or her through every step of notarizing a power of attorney in order to understand what should go into the document.

What Is The Best Form Of Power Of Attorney?

A general power of attorney allows the agent to make a wide range of decisions. This is your best option if you want to maximize the person’s freedom to handle your assets and manage your care. A limited power of attorney restricts the agent’s power to particular assets.

Why Do You Need A Power Of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.

Who can certify a power of attorney?

Who can certify my POA document if I live in the UK? If you live in the UK, the donor, a solicitor or a notary public can certify your POA document. If you live outside the UK, you’ll need to get both your proof of identity document and your proof of address documents certified.

At What Age Should You Do A Power Of Attorney?

18 years old or over

There’s no right or wrong time to get a Power of Attorney. So long as you’re 18 years old or over and mentally capable, you should aim to get one sooner rather than later. Many think it’s a document for older people, but, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable.

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How long does a lasting power of attorney last?

The lasting power of attorney (LPA) ends when the donor dies. You must report the death of a donor to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

How Is A Power Of Attorney Registered?

You can register a power of attorney or Court of Protection order with us in the following ways: register online. Use a secure digital access code (power of attorney only) visit us in a branch.

How Do You Prove You Have Power Of Attorney?

You can also confirm that a copy of your LPA is genuine by ‘certifying’ it, if you’re still able to make your own decisions. You or your attorney can use the certified copy to register your LPA if you do not have the original document.

What Does a Power of Attorney Do?

The power of attorney gives the attorney in fact (also known as the agent) the power to make decisions about your affairs. The type of POA you create dictates which affairs you are granting power over. The decision-making power of an attorney-in-fact takes effect at different times depending on which POA you choose. No matter which type, any POA becomes null and void when the person it represents passes away. A last will and testament or a living trust is used to list instructions for the management of assets and affairs after death. The agent or attorney-in-fact is a fiduciary. That means they are responsible for managing some or all of another person’s affairs. The fiduciary must act responsibly and practically and in a way that is fair to the person whose affairs they are managing. Anyone who violates these duties can face criminal charges or can be held liable in a civil lawsuit. No power of attorney document is legally binding before it’s signed and executed according to the laws

How Power Of Attorney Works

The principal can either download or buy POA templates. In the event the template is acquired through either one of the two methods, the principal should ensure they belong to the state of residence. POA documents are very important, and the principal should not assume that the documents acquired are of the correct kind. Verification of the POA documents is necessary before the POA process can begin.

The best way for a principal to start the process is by finding a family law counsel in their state of residence. If the associated legal fees are way beyond what the principal can manage, there is the option of visiting a legal services office. Alternatively, the principal can go to the Legal Services Corporation website and communicate with a legal aide. Principals who are eligible will be attended for free.

In many states, it is mandatory to get the principal’s signature notarized. In some cases, the witness’s signature must also be notarized. In addition, there are some legal provisos that are not generally applicable. For example, there is no standardized POA principal form.

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Procedures and laws vary based on the principal’s residence. While the durable POA is widely accepted, there are powers the principal cannot delegate, such as amending or making a will, contracting a marriage, or casting a vote.

Summary

A power of attorney (POA) is an authority imposed on an agent by the principal allowing the said agent to make decisions on his/her behalf. The agent can receive limited or absolute authority to act on the principal’s behalf on decisions relating to health, property, or finances. A POA is common when a person is incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney ( LPA ) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make 

Make a Lasting Power Of Attorney

You can make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) online or using paper forms.

Either way, you need to get other people to sign the forms, including the attorneys and witnesses. You can get someone else to use the online service or fill in the paper forms for you, for example a family member, friend or solicitor.

You must register your LPA or your attorney will not be able to make decisions for you.

It takes up to 20 weeks to make an LPA if there are no mistakes in the application. It’s usually quicker if you make it and pay online.

Make an LPA online

Create or sign in to an existing account to:

  • make an LPA
  • continue making an LPA that you’ve already started
  • You can then:
  • get help and guidance at each step
  • save your forms and complete them later
  • review your answers and fix any mistakes

You need to print out the forms and sign them when you’ve finished.

Start now

If you’ve made and registered an LPA already, there’s a different service for using an LPA.

Use the paper forms

Removing an attorney

You can ask the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to remove an attorney if your lasting power of attorney (LPA) is registered and you still have mental capacity to make decisions.

You will need to send OPG a written statement called a ‘partial deed of revocation.

If you want to add another attorney you need to end your LPA and make a new one.

Use the following wording. Replace the words in the square brackets with the relevant details.

Partial deed of revocation

“This partial deed of revocation is made by [donor’s name] of [donor’s address].

1: I granted a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs/health and welfare [delete as appropriate] on [date donor signed the lasting power of attorney] appointing [name of first attorney] of [address of first attorney] and [name of second attorney] of [address of second attorney] to act as my attorney(s).

2: I hereby revoke [attorney’s name that you are revoking] ONLY from the lasting power of attorney and the authority

 

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