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Power of Attorney FAQs

What is Power of Attorney?

Every individual has the legal right to take care of his or her own affairs. There are some instances in which you may want someone else to handle your financial and medical transactions. When you wish to allow someone to attend to your matters, you must provide them legal power of attorney. Power of attorney is a legal designation that gives a designee the legal authorization to handle your decisions and finances. The concept of power of attorney originated through the Uniform Probate Code.

What are the Different Kinds of Power of Attorney?

There are a few different types of power of attorney. General power of attorney allows the designee to act on your behalf for all your business matters, financial transactions, and more. Special power of attorney allows you to specify the matters your designee may handle. Durable power of attorney gives power to your agent when you are unable to do so due to illness or incapacitation, for example. A health care power of attorney provides instructions for your medical treatment when you cannot do so yourself.

When Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

It is a good idea to put a power of attorney in place in case you suddenly need help. The power of attorney is useful for times when you are undergoing surgery, for example. You want to be sure that you have someone to cover your needs should you be unable to do so for a period of time. In addition, a medical power of attorney, also called a healthcare directive, gives critical information to doctors and others regarding your medical preferences.  You may put a power of attorney in place for a specific period of time or for anytime you become incapacitated.

Does the Power of Attorney Need to be in Writing?

A power of attorney is a legal designation and must be in writing. You must ensure that the document has the appropriate detail to provide the protection you intend. Because the POA must be in writing, it is best to put one in place before you might actually have a need. An experienced attorney will help you draft and execute a power of attorney that will meet your specific needs. Your designee will then be able to take over for your financial and other legal needs if the occasion arises.

How Do I Designate Someone to Handle My Affairs?

You must name a person to take over your affairs as part of your power of attorney document. This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact. It is best to choose someone you trust with your legal and business matters. Generally, choose a close relative or partner who is capable of handling these types of matters. It is critical to discuss the details of your power of attorney with the designee so they have a complete understanding of your wishes and your financial and business dealings. You want to make sure that the person you choose is going to act in your best interests.

To learn more about power of attorney and for an initial consultation, contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or by phone at (608) 784-8310.

Published March 19, 2021
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