A Power of attorney is a legal document that gives your authority to someone else. It can cover any number of things, such as real estate and financial transactions. Basically, it is any document that gives someone else the legal authority to do things for you.
You can sign a power of attorney to have your car and the title transferred, for instance. And that person would be able to take care of all of the necessary paperwork for you. That would be considered a limited power of attorney.
Generally, what we talk about is a durable power of attorney, especially in estate planning. The durable power gives someone else broad rights to do anything for you that you are unable to do. Some of these things include: financial and real estate transactions, money matters, paying your taxes, filing a lawsuit and even defending a lawsuit on your behalf.
A power of attorney is a very important legal document to have if you were to become incompetent or are unable to make decisions for yourself. And if a loved one is very ill, it is a good idea not to wait too long to have a power of attorney established. It can make things very difficult, especially where estate issues are concerned.
The power of attorney can be granted to a spouse, an adult child, a relative or trusted friend. The important thing is that the designated person act in good faith on behalf of the principal at all times. If you are the “attorney in fact”, you’ll be paid, if that is the arrangement, a preset amount decided by the principal.
If an amount is not set, the court may step in and determine the amount the “attorney in fact” will be paid. However, that amount cannot exceed a certain percentage of the worth of the estate or business being handled.
If you need advice on how to proceed in obtaining a power of attorney for yourself or a loved one, please consult our Online Legal Directory for an attorney in your area.