It’s one of the most powerful legal moves you can make, and yet not many people are aware of it.
What is it? Well, when you consider the fact that it allows someone else to sign documents and write checks on your behalf, you’ll probably be asking that very question. And the answer is as simple as reading the title to this article: it’s the power of attorney.
Why would someone ever need to give power of attorney to someone else? That’s just one of the questions we’ll answer in this article about this very important legal practice – and if you don’t think you need to know those answers, well, keep reading and you’ll see why you do.
Defining Power of Attorney
Essentially, the power of attorney grants all of your individual legal powers to someone else. When you retain your own legal powers, you can do things like sign contracts, write checks, and draft documents in your own name. When someone else has your power of attorney, they have these powers instead of you.
There are, of course, different powers of attorney that you’ll want to recognize. Durable power of attorney is a legal power of attorney that lasts beyond when you die – in essence, it is more “durable” than the regular power of attorney. Health care power of attorney relates to decisions regarding your medical care, many of which can represent life-or-death questions.
These different powers can be granted with different documents, but universally the requirement is that someone willfully give up their power of attorney and does so when they’re not under duress, as is the case with most contracts. If you want to learn more about power of attorney as it might relate to your situation, be sure to find out more about the type of power of attorney that have caught your attention in the previous paragraph.
Why Use Power of Attorney?
Of course, in some cases, power of attorney transference is to be avoided at all costs. You don’t want someone handling your finances or medical situations if they don’t have your explicit trust and they don’t need to be doing it in the first place. In order to understand more about power of attorney, it’s crucial that we figure out why people use it in the first place.
In some cases, power of attorney is granted to people in emergencies, such as medical emergencies. When someone is unconscious, they are obviously unable to handle their medical decisions, meaning that the medical power of attorney can transfer to someone else.
In other cases, someone might just be simply too incapacitated otherwise to handle their own estate, trusting a son or daughter to handle issues like bills and finances in order to ensure that the estate goes on even without its primary caretaker. In some instances when someone might be out of the country, power of attorney can be temporarily transferred as well.
Needless to say, power of attorney is about trust and good decisions. Without either one, you’ll want to keep power of attorney to yourself.