When a person agrees to be a power of attorney (POA) they agree to act as proxy in all business and legal matters for another individual. This means that an individual has assigned this proxy to sign legal documents, contracts, sign checks and or even conduct real estate transactions. The Power of Attorney is often assigned during periods of ill health or if a person is travelling out of the country for a long period of time.
There are a few types of power of attorney, with the general power of attorney being the most far-reaching of the POA designations. A general power of attorney allows the proxy or designated party to handle all of the financial decisions for another person. This includes banking, real estate matters, filing tax returns and entering into contracts. Other types of Power of Attorney designations include healthcare power of attorney and the durable power of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney is designated to make healthcare and medical decisions in the case of medical incapacitation or cognitive inability. A durable power of attorney is allowed to stay a POA in case of permanent disability or incapcatiation.
To sign as a power of attorney an individual must be 18 years of old, mentally capable, be trustworthy and be cognitively intact and of sound mind. Most individuals select close family or friends to sign as power of attorney. Most power of attorney designations are good for one year, except for the durable power of attorney, which can stay in place as long as needed.
The power of attorney is not valid until the person who assigned the power attorney because incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions. Medical or legal professionals must make this decision. The Power of attorney must act in the best decisions of their appointer, meaning not entering into contracts that would cause undue financial harm, or spending their appointer?s money recklessly.
Signing as a power of attorney is a very important, legal responsibility. A power of attorney must be available to act as their appointer?s agents at all time. Before signing the power of attorney paperwork, the POA must understand that this can be a time-consuming commitment, and that if not done correctly they can get in ethical and legal trouble. Make sure that all power of attorney paperwork is filled out correctly, and that forms are notarized. Keep this paperwork stored in safe place, where it can be accessed easily if needed.