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Power of Attorney: What It Is and Why You Should Care

A power of attorney is a legal document in which you authorize someone else to make business, legal, and medical decisions for you. The designated power of attorney should be someone who is well known and trusted by the one authorizing the document. It can be revoked at any time or remain in effect throughout the person’s lifetime.

Busy People

This type of document can be done under normal circumstances when a person is too busy to handle all aspects of his or her life and allows someone else to make decisions or sign forms as needed. For example, a high-level executive who is operating several businesses or who travels a great deal may need help with personal affairs while immersed in other activities or away from home. The power of attorney does not need to consult the person he or she represents but can conduct business on that person’s behalf, including buying or selling real estate, and related matters.

Incapacitated Individuals

At other times a power of attorney is established when a person becomes critically ill or is temporarily incapacitated, mentally or physically. The person may know that he or she will be out of commission for a while and thus designate a power of attorney to handle his or her business and personal matters. This document gives the designee the legal authority to make decisions like funeral arrangements, banking decisions, and burial plans, as well as related family matters. However, a power of attorney does not extend beyond death.

Aging or Disabled Persons

Someone who is elderly or who is confined to being at home most of the time may want a close friend or family matter to handle tasks like banking, bill paying, shopping, and general money management. Business decisions may be included as well. This may be a temporary or permanent arrangement depending on circumstances.

Medical Power of Attorney

A special provision for medical matters can be included with a regular power of attorney or it may be established as a separate and independent authority over an individual that does not include business or other matters. The medical power of attorney may make decisions regarding medical treatment, a living will, or whether to prolong or end a person’s life who is on life support.

Decisions like those indicated above significantly impact a person’s life. Consulting a legal firm like Gittens & Associates can be helpful in clarifying the designee’s authority and limits, if any, to prevent misunderstandings and support the person’s best interests.

This article is from Karleia Steiner, who works as a freelance blogger and consultant. You can follow her on Google+.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

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