Thursday, July 19, 2012

Power of Attorney - How They Vary

Power of attorney is a notarized legal form wherein the principal executes granting authority to another person to be his agent or attorney-in-fact to handle certain affairs on his or her behalf. Laws vary on who may be authorized to act as agent, usually; it is somebody the principal trusts completely. Powers of attorney may include everything from financial transactions, health care issues such as making medical decisions on behalf of the principal in case he or she became incapacitated to granting medical care to a child in case of an emergency. The power of attorney can be general, limited, or a combination of general and specific powers. Normally, people grant a power of attorney in situations where the principal cannot handle their affairs or they will be out of the country.

A special power of attorney grants the agent limited power. It is being executed to allow the agent to carry out a particular business for the principal such as signing of legal documents and authorize the agent to make a decision for the principal, from cashing government checks, to dealing with real estate transactions, in almost everything. When the agent's representation for the principal is no longer needed, the principal may cancel and/or revoke it any time.

A durable power of attorney allows agents to make decisions for the principal if he or she is not mentally competent. This gives the agent immediate power and is effective until it is revoked or maybe until death. It is often used as an advance directive. It does not become invalid by incapacitation and as a result is a good choice for people who are granting authority through a power of attorney in anticipation of physical or mental disabilities.

A nondurable power of attorney is executed by the principal to give the agent or his attorney-in-fact the immediate power to act on his behalf. Its validity remains until it expires unless revoked. If and when the principal decided to revoke the non durable power of attorney granted into the agent, a revocation of the power of attorney should be executed by the principal stating therein that it has been revoked on a date that the principal has specified.

Trust is the key in granting power of attorney to someone or to somebody that the principal can rely on. Somebody who is capable of making a sound decision for the delicate role the principal has bestowed upon him and can act accordingly as to what the principal entrusted to him. This is especially important, more so, if the principal is anticipating a quite long period for the agent to act on his behalf, rather than just for a mean while until the principal will be available. Sometimes, we really need to have somebody to act on our behalf, but then again, no matter whom the principal designates; the performance should be checked from time to time.

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