Top 10 Things to Know About Powers of Attorney

When it comes to legal jargon, no term has as much pertinence to your live and that of your loved ones than “power of attorney.” Typically seen in the construction “granting powers of attorney,” this action usually devolves some part of an individual’s autonomy to a designated person. This person can be an attorney or a member of the person’s family or even a friend – it is really up to the person granting powers of attorney to whom they wish to do so. But someone who is thinking of doing so should consider this: Granting someone powers of attorney conveys upon them the ability to make decisions on your behalf that could have a wide-ranging impact on how you live.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 top things people should know about powers of attorney.

10. Power of Attorney is a Powerful Legal Document

It grants an agent the ability to act on your behalf in the matter specified. This means that you need to appoint someone with your best interests in mind. In other words, you have to have an agent that would do what you do – and that’s easier said than done.

9. There are Many Types of Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is not a blanket concept. There are many different types for various purposes. Granting someone the power of attorney in one issue may not give them any authority in another. Be sure to clarify this with your legal representative when drawing up the plans to grant power of attorney to an agent.

8. Who You Appoint is Very Important

Appoint someone you trust and that you know will always act in your best interests, even without you to monitor their activity in some instances. This is a huge risk, so be judicious in who you grant power of attorney to in a legal context.

7. Try to Select One Agent

If you are a parent facing a decision about which child to delegate some life decisions to in the event of something happening, it is often best to vest these powers with one child instead of multiple people. Try to keep it to one agent but be sure that agent is the best one possible.

6. Be Aware of Potential Downsides

For example, if you grant someone the power to act on your behalf in financial matters and they lose your money there is often little recourse you have to recover your assets.

5. You Still Have the Power to Act

Just because you’ve granted a power of attorney doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to act on your own behalf. Again, clarify the document’s meaning with your legal representative.

4. They are Amendable and Revocable

Powers of attorney can be changed and revoked. Always keep this in mind.

3. Power of Attorney Does Not Take Precedence Over a Will

In the event of your passing, powers of attorney cease and do not supersede a will.

2. Power of Attorney Ends at Death

As noted above, the power of attorney instrument typically ends at death.

1. Exercise Caution

Be cautious who you choose to delegate powers of attorney to in any case.

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