Making choices for a loved one is never, ever easy. Over the course of your life, however, you may be asked to assume many roles in your life in order to help someone you care about deeply. One such role is a very important legal process that is known as the Power of Attorney. Assuming the Power of Attorney is a very specific and highly serious legal obligation. It’s not be entered into lightly. If you have been asked to step forward right now or someone you love has indicated they would like you to do so soon, there’s a lot of things you should know once you agree to this process.
What is the Power of Attorney?
Simply put, the Power of Attorney or POA is a legal document. Signing this document provides the signer with the right to act on behalf of another person in some way. The person they act on behalf is known legally as the principal. An agent’s powers can be quite limited or they can very broad. You will have the legal right to decide about varied aspects of your loved one’s life once you agree to sign this document. This may include healthcare decisions. It may also include issues related to the disposal of the person’s property and other financial matters such as making donations on their behalf. A POA can encompass a great many scenarios you know about before you sign it as well as circumstances that can change over time. Before you sign this document, make sure you know exactly what rights you have on behalf of the principal as well as what responsibilities you must take on.
Types of POAs
The type of POA that you might use can vary in many respects. However, there are generally four types of POAs. A conventional POA is also typically known as a limited POA. This covers only specifics. You can also have a durable POA. The durable POA lasts for as long as your loved one is alive. You can apply for it to be cancelled. You may also assume what is known as a springing POA. This is when you assume the role of speaking for someone should someone you love become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. A medical power of attorney is also known as a a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Each type means you have specific responsibilities you must take on in order to defend the interests of your loved one.
This is How it Works
This is a legal mechanism. It works to create a means of ensuring that someone you care about has the right legal representation under every possible situation. If someone is incapacitated in some way such as they’ve had a stroke, this gives you the right to speak on their behalf to everyone involved in their care. There are instances where the person may be fine but may ask someone else to assume legal responsibility for their actions. For example, if your spouse is a military official on a tour of duty overseas, they can authorize you to make legal choices without the need to have them physically present. If you’ve both agreed to buy a new house, you can agree to represent him at closing even if he’s in another country entirely.
Anyone Can Create a POA
Anyone can create a POA. This is a legal instrument that is about providing for the needs of people even in the fact of difficult issues. However, keep in mind that the principal has to agree to the POA beforehand. If an elderly loved one appears to be having problems, they must agree to the POA in advance. If they can’t, the court system will step in and provide one on their behalf. It may be you or it may be someone else. That’s why it is imperative to think about situations like this one and act proactively.
Protecting your loved one is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. You want to do it properly. That’s why you should make sure you know what it means to have the power of attorney. It’s also why you should understand how this can ensure that your loved one ‘s interests are always shielded legally.