Frequently Asked Questions About Powers of Attorney

For a lot of people, vestin a power of attorney in another individual is one of the most important aspects of estate planning they may have to undertake, possibly even more important than drafting a last will and testament. This is because a power of attorney, sometimes referred to as a durable power of attorney, is charged with making financial and health care decisions on another’s behalf in cases where that individual is unable to do so.


Without a power of attorney, families will need to wait for a judge’s order to appoint a guardian over their loved one’s affairs in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. This can result in increased legal and emotional hardships on family members coping with an already difficult situation. The utility of powers of attorney is that they do not take effect until an individual is incapacitated but when they do, these power take effect right away.


One common question folks have about powers of attorney is whether their rights are diminished in any way by vesting authority in another person to make financial decisions. Granting another person power of attorney over one’s affairs does not limit one’s rights in any way, the authority simply gives the other person the power to act when or where one cannot. That being said, it is extremely important to choose someone you can place your trust in.


Another query concerning powers of attorney includes what individuals can do when they feel they cannot place complete trust in a single person to handle all of their financial affairs in case they are incapacitated. In these cases, a limited durable power of attorney may be the best fit for the situation, since this type of power of attorney limits the scope of decision making and can even place time restrictions on the use of this power.


Finally, many people want to know what they can do if they change their mind about who they wish to serve as their attorney in principle. The law gives individuals the power to revoke powers of attorney at any time by simply sending a letter informing that person he or she can no long act as the attorney in principle. From the moment the former attorney in principle receives this notice, he or she can no longer act as a power of attorney and make not take any actions asserting such.

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