Power of Attorney Lawyer
Whether due to old age or a lack of time, you may find yourself unable to attend to all your important personal obligations and business dealings. To resolve that issue, you should look into hiring a power of attorney lawyer and getting some documentation in order.
Used properly, power of attorney can help you tend to more matters of great importance. Then again, power of attorney can upend your life if it ends up in the wrong hands.
In this article, we will discuss what power of attorney is along with the pros and cons of signing it over to someone. Go ahead and continue reading if you have been contemplating the creation of that document yourself.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
The best way to start is by defining what power of attorney is. Power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf.
The person who created the document is known as the principal. As the principal, it is up to you to decide how much power you want to sign over.
On the opposite side, you have the agent. The agent is the person who receives the power of attorney.
The agent is authorized to act on behalf of the principal, but their actions must be in line with the terms of the document. As an agent, you do not have a blank slate to do whatever you wish with the power bestowed upon you.
You need to be careful when crafting this kind of document. Even minor errors can have major consequences, so check and double-check the document before finalizing it.
Working with an experienced attorney is highly recommended if you want to sign a power of attorney. Your lawyer can ensure that the documentation is correct and save you from potential headaches.
What Are the Different Types of Powers of Attorney?
Powers of attorney can vary in terms of what they cover and when they take effect. We will use this section to highlight the different powers of attorney so you can choose the appropriate document for your situation.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney enables your agent to handle all kinds of matters for you. In the document, you can authorize them to manage your bank accounts and your properties. You can even give them the power to sign checks on your behalf.
Limited Power of Attorney
In contrast to a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney is restricted on what your agent can do.
For example, the document may indicate that your agent can only manage specific bank accounts. If they try to use your other bank accounts, they could find themselves in legal trouble.
You could also limit the power of attorney by dictating when it will take effect. Specify which situations they can use so they do not abuse it.
Durable Power of Attorney
Typically, a power of attorney document will become void if something happens to the principal. To be more specific, the agreement may no longer be valid if the principal is incapacitated or if they are no longer of sound mind.
However, the power of attorney can also outlast that. It can if the document in question is a durable power of attorney. Your agent can continue managing your real estate properties and your finances because of the document you crafted.
Given the amount of power you are signing over, you need to ensure that your agent is someone you trust. You should work closely with a lawyer to ensure you write out the document correctly.
What Are the Risks and Rewards of Providing Power of Attorney?
Signing over power of attorney to someone is a major decision. As with any major decision, you need to weigh the risks and rewards before you proceed in either direction.
We will use this opportunity to discuss the risks and rewards of giving someone power of attorney. Let’s start with the potential rewards.
- Highly Convenient – Your agent can make and close deals on your behalf. Traveling from one place to another to make those deals will no longer be necessary.
- Multi-tasking – Multi-tasking is easier when you have someone with your power of attorney. You can accomplish more things in one day thanks to your agent.
- Frees You Up for Traveling – Are you planning to spend some time out of the country soon? In that case, you can sign over power of attorney to someone and ask them to manage your affairs while you are away.
- No Regular Oversight – As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau points out, agents are not subjected to regular oversight. It is your job as the principal to monitor their actions and prevent abuse.
- Your Agent May Abuse Their Authority – Unfortunately, your agent is not immune from temptation. With no one watching them closely, they may start to abuse the power you gave them.
- Your Agent May Pressure You to Give Them More Power – An agent may go to you directly and pressure you into giving them more power. They may use the power they currently have to fuel that threat.
Can You Revoke Power of Attorney?
You may not like to think about it, but your agent abusing their authority could happen. Thankfully, you can revoke a power of attorney if your agent is abusing it or if you believe that is a possibility.
The state of New York outlines the process of revoking a power of attorney for its residents.
Revoking will be easy if you still have the original document. You need to create a copy of that document and write “revoked” on top of it.
After that, you should sign and date the copy; make sure your name, address, and taxpayer ID number are present on the copy. You should also include the name and address of the agent you want to strip the power away from.
From there, you can send the documents to New York State’s tax department to complete the process. Feel free to request assistance from a power of attorney lawyer if you want to ensure that all your documents are in order.
You must be careful when crafting or revoking power of attorney. We at the Alber Law Group can help with either of those tasks. Contact us today so we can help ease your concerns regarding that important document.
Power of Attorney Lawyer FAQs
A “power of attorney” is a written document wherein a person (principal) gives authorization to another person (agent) to represent or act on such person’s behalf. While there are a variety of types of power of attorney (general, durable, special, medical), the most common form of power of attorney utilized in connection with an estate plan is a “durable” power of attorney.
When a power of attorney is durable, that means there’s language within the document which states an agent’s authority continues to apply if you become incapacitated. There is no automatic deadline by which these powers expire. A durable power of attorney stays effective until the principle dies or until they act to revoke the power of attorney that was granted to the agent.
You may revoke your power of attorney, living will or health care proxy by communicating your revocation to the agents named in the document, sending written notice to your agents and any banks, institutions, physicians, or other persons who may have relied on such documentation.
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