What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legally binding document that allows you to appoint someone to manage your property, medical, or financial affairs. Although it can be uncomfortable to think about needing one, a POA is an important part of any estate plan. Anyone over 18 can create a POA, and it's a common starting point for people who are ready to start formalizing plans for their future.
POA is typically used by those who cannot manage their affairs. This is generally due to an illness, aging, a disability, or simply being away for an extended period of time.
Each type of POA gives your attorney-in-fact—the person who will make decisions for you—a different level of control. Some POAs take effect immediately after signing, and others kick in if you become incapacitated.
In this article, we'll explore the role of an attorney-in-fact and the authority a POA grants. We'll also cover the different types of POAs and tips for crafting a legally binding document.
What does a power of attorney do?
The POA gives the attorney-in-fact (used interchangeably with "agent") the power to make decisions about your affairs. The type of POA you create dictates which affairs an attorney-in-fact has authority over until the contract expires or you die.
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