What Is the Power of Attorney?
The document of Power Of Attorney can be confusing for most people as it gets confused with many other legal roles like conservatorship. However, this POA role is one of the essential roles that help to create a plan for your family and future and allow you to have peace of mind.
Power Of Attorney is the role that allows a person to assign someone who they trust to take the appointed responsibilities of handling legal, financial, and medical decisions. It is also known as being your “agent” This role comes with a lot of power. Controlling legal decisions that you used to make which you can’t now due to uncertainties, and deciding what is good for you. So, it is essential to know what you’re signing them in for.
Like any role in life, it comes with a set of dos and don’ts. Similarly, this role also comes with a group of actions and restrictions. In this article, we will discuss all that, plus laying out a general idea of essential things you should know. Let’s begin!
There are mainly two types of POA you will see: Medical and Financial.
Medical Attorneys are trusted people that you select to speak on your behalf, make decisions medically if you aren’t able to do so. For example, if you are bed-ridden, your POA can help you make medical decisions such as insurance, further treatments, and so on.
Financial POAs works the same way but for your finances, of course. They will speak for you in terms of bank statements, transfers, load work, and so on. You don’t need to have two POAs for two different purposes. Many people choose one person to speak for both cases.
So, before you jump on the train and want to know how to sign as a Power Of Attorney, here are the set of actions and restrictions you have to pay attention to:
Here are the following things your Power Of Attorney can do:
What Can You Do as an Attorney:
- They can buy and sell the property and handle the paperwork.
- Rent property, but you need to pay the taxes and insurances that come with it.
- Pay medical bills and other bills.
- They can handle investments.
- They can get the benefits on their behalf and use them for their purpose.
- They can buy things for their donors that they may need.
- They can claim out of the pocket expenses.
- They can make gifts.
What Cannot You Do as an Attorney:
- They cannot make a considerable amount of financial gifts to people.
- They cannot pay a fee for themselves unless the LPA authorizes them.
- They cannot mix their finances with their donors and have to separate everything.
- They cannot manage funds with a manager.
- They cannot decide what’s good for their donors’ health and carry on with it.
- They cannot abuse their powers and use them for their gains.
- They cannot buy anything from the donor with permission from the Court of Protection.
- Cannot plan taxes.
Now that you know what you can do and can’t do, there are some essential things you should know about a POA.
They Come with a LOT Of Power
Having Power Of Attorney is one of the most influential legal roles. Having POA means having access to all of your financial, personal, and medical documents and handling all the matters that come with it. They will be able to talk on your behalf, make decisions for you, and engage with people of that matter as the documents allow them to do so.
There Are Many Types Of POA
As we mentioned above, there are many types of POA. We talked about financial and medical POAs, but some additional ones are available after assigning them a role. Some POAs lose their abilities once you pass away, are available for a short while, have limited access to assets, and come with a contract. So before you get yourself a POV, decide for what purpose you are getting them for and how long they will be helpful to you.
Trust is the Key
If we didn’t stress this enough already, you HAVE to appoint someone who you trust. You are making someone handle all your essential assets in your absence and speak for them. It would help if you could get a person who can do all this work for you with professionalism, and with pure intentions of helping you out, and have good decision-making skills. It is essential to trust them and be clear with the responsibility that comes with this role.
Too Many Opinions Create a Mess
For the sake of equality, parents with multiple kids may want to appoint all of their kids as their POA. While it may sound like a good option, it comes with a lot of issues. At first, you have to make sure your POAs get along and be on the same page. Important decisions can slow down if you need to get all of the POAs’ signatures. If findings don’t align, then legal problems may arise too. So, it is essential to choose only one person that can be your backup.
Don’t Forget; You Have Powers Too
Remember you only appointed them to speak on your behalf, so you can talk and have the choice to decline any decisions made for you. If you sense something going wrong, you can take action against it. If you are the one to give them the power, you can take it away too. A POA doesn’t remove your power. Please don’t confuse it with conservatorship which allows your ability to be taken entirely away in someone else’s hands.
You Can End Things with your POA Anytime
You can end things with your POA anytime. If you gave them a choice to make decisions for you, then you can also change the number of legal decisions they can make for you. If you don’t feel satisfied with the overall structure of the documents, you have the right to change it to align with your beliefs. Talk with your attorney and find out ways you can get your records changed.
They Lose Their Powers Once You Hit the DeathBed
The moment your donor dies, a POA loses all its powers and authority. They can no longer handle the assets and speak for them. However, in many cases, you might see the POA managing the assets and documents after the one who appointed them dies. It is not legal and comes with serious trouble. The moment the donor dies, a POA should stop all the activities they carried on as their POA as failure to do so can get them into serious problems.
It is essential to get someone who you genuinely trust as your POAs. Having the Power Of Attorney is a big deal as you assign someone to handle almost all your belongings. When you get an agent as your POA, make sure to know what it comes with and what powers they have. Second, please be strict about the documents and the rules it follows. A POA cannot use their passion for their benefits, and if you see it taking place, you have the chance to report it. At times, you won’t realize when you’ve gotten yourself into trouble for having this power, so make sure you have the documents and the rules set.
So, before you get yourself a POA, consult a professional to understand what you want to add to your document. It is an important role that you assign someone, so it is essential to have confidence in yourself and work with your instincts. I hope you got to learn a lot and can take away things from here. Thank you for reading.