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.
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.
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+.