How to Get Power of Attorney

by admin on June 16, 2013

There are many times in our lives when we need our loved ones to help with our decisions, or make decisions for us. Sometimes, they are small things, sometimes they are big. A power of attorney can help make the small and big things a little easier for you and your family. Obtaining power of attorney, is a very important decision. It is crucial that all parties involved recognize the risks and responsibilities that go into creating this agreement. In this article you will learn, who, what, where, and how to get power of attorney.

Powers of attorney, are used in many different situations. They can be used for current health situations, future health situations, extended vacations, and financial situations.

A power of attorney is the authority to act in the legal, medical, and/or financial matters of another person. It is also the legal document that grants a particular person this authority. For example, a power of attorney, allows someone to legally manage your bank accounts, make healthcare decisions for you, buy and sell property for you, and collect tax credits and benefits for you. For the sake of this article, the person giving authority, will be called the grantor, and the person receiving authority, will be the agent.

In order to get power of attorney, you must be at least 18 years of age and mentally competent. The first step in getting one, is finding an agent you trust. This agent must put the grantor first in all decisions made regarding the grantor’s affairs. The agent is obligated to have the grantor’s best interests at heart and to include said grantor in decisions, as much as possible. This could be a family member, a long time friend, or a long time business associate. It should also be someone who is not in any financial or legal trouble. It is best to minimize all possible risks when dealing with powers of attorney. Giving an agent this much authority over your life, can be risky, and cause a lot of trouble, if not done properly.

The next step is deciding what type of power of attorney is needed. There are three main types: general powers of attorney, limited powers of attorney, and durable ones. A general power of attorney grants the agent to act on your behalf in either all of your affairs, or the affairs outlined in the document. It is canceled if the grantor somehow loses their mental competency. The second type is a limited power of attorney. This type of power of attorney, usually covers a specific action or item. It can also be limited to a certain timeframe. The third type, a durable power of attorney, maintains its legitimacy even if the grantor can no longer make decisions. This particular power of attorney can be used if the grantor has a disease that will diminish their mental stability. This way, the agent can continue to make decisions on their behalf, despite their diminishing capacity. Creating this power of attorney, is a major event. It can last up until the death of the grantor, and requires you to place your full trust in someone, as they will be making decisions for you, when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This is not an easy task, nor a small responsibility.

How to Get Power of Attorney

A less prominent form of power of attorney, is a springing power of attorney. This document only goes into effect after the grantor is incapacitated or some other definite event. Once this happens, it behaves like a durable power of attorney. This one could be problematic, because the agent could be asked to prove that the grantor is incapacitated, since that is the limitation of the power of attorney.

The next thing you will need to do is decide if you are going to involve an attorney in your process. They are not necessary, but they do provide numerous advantages. For one, they can simplify the process for you. If the power of attorney needs to be specific or if it’s covering very important and sensitive issues in the grantor’s life, it is best to have a lawyer involved. They can help you plan carefully for unforeseen circumstances and events, and ensure your safety, should anything happen.

If you have decided to hire a lawyer, make sure that you take all related documentation with you to your meeting.

If you’ve decided not to hire lawyer, you will need to call a lawyer or city hall, to find out the exact instructions for your particular state.

After you have found out what forms are needed, and the state-specific process, you will need to download the power of attorney form. You can do that here, or on most state government sites. Now that you have the form, you will want to go over it and fill it out properly. At this point, you and your agent, should know exactly what authority is being given, and you should have discussed all possible circumstances.

Now, for the last part in getting power of attorney. Generally your form will need to be signed by the grantor, the agent, and a notary. This can vary from state to state, so make sure you know your state’s current rules. Some states require witnesses, and some states will accept two witnesses, instead of a notary.

Once you have all the proper documents filled and signed, you are all set. You will need to make sure that you have the proper documentation, and your power of attorney with you, when approaching the related institutions and corporations. It is always good to call beforehand and find out their protocol, because different institutions handle powers of attorney differently.

Hopefully, this article on how to get power of attorney has been very helpful for you. Finding someone you trust, determining what kind of power of attorney you need, deciding on a lawyer, and obtaining the proper forms and signatures, are all important and necessary steps in getting power of attorney. Take your time and plan ahead, and a power of attorney can make this transition in your life, smooth and uncomplicated.

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