Power of Attorney

A person needs a power of attorney to legally authorize someone to take care of financial transactions or make medical decisions for them. Laws prevent people from being able to access bank accounts, engage in financial transactions, or obtain medical records without proper authorization.

Power of attorney forms can be used for a variety of scenarios. They are commonly used with estate planning and amongst business partners. POAs can grant sweeping powers that allow the designated agent to take care of nearly everything, or they can be limited to one specific duty.

There are several types of power of attorney documents. It's recommended to talk with a lawyer to find out which form is needed for your situation. The ones used most frequently are medical, durable, and limited.

Business owners typical grant durable power of attorney rights to partners or top management to carry out tasks and keep the company functioning if something happens to them.

Individuals assign power of attorney privileges when they need someone to represent them in creditor or tax negotiations. They are also needed to let agents take care of financial matters, such as paying bills from your bank account or transferring funds in investment accounts.

Real estate investors use power of attorney if they hire a property management group to maintain their investments. They are also used if investors hire someone to handle their real estate transactions.

Real estate power of attorney forms need to be recorded with the county clerk. Anytime powers are revoked, a revocation form has to be recorded as well. A real estate power of attorney form is used when one single transaction occurs. A general real estate POA is used when there are on-going transactions involved.

Arranging medical power of attorney is a good idea for everyone of legal age. These forms authorize the attorney-in-fact to speak with physicians; refuse or accept treatments or procedures; and obtain medical records.

Medical POA also gives you opportunity to state what type of life-saving treatment you accept or reject in the event you can no longer communicate. Most people don't want to think about tragedy, but it's very hard on family members if the unexpected occurs and there are no preparations.

Healthcare agents aren't involved with any decisions until a physician presents a written letter of incompetency. For obvious reasons, it's best to share your thoughts with the agent so they can comply with your wishes.

The types of power of attorney forms used with estate planning vary dependent on the situation. A few of the most common include a durable power of attorney for health care and medical treatment, and power of attorney for care, custody, and control of a minor child.

Most people choose their spouse, parent, or sibling to act as the attorney-in-fact, but you can choose whomever you want. The only restriction is the person needs to be of legal age.

It's always a good idea to talk to an estate planning service provider or estate attorney to figure out the right POA forms.

Craton and Switzer specialize in family law and estate planning. Whether you're in need of a simple power of attorney or require multiple documents, we can help you establish the documents necessary to protect assets. We invite you to learn more about the uses of POA forms and why they are so important in our estate planning article library.

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Published on January 16, 2012

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