Updated: Oct 4
Let’s chat about Powers of Attorney. While the information contained in this post might be applicable to you, it might also be applicable to your elderly relatives, so, read this with them in mind.
You may be asking yourself (i) what is a Power of Attorney, and (ii) why would I need it? A Power of Attorney is a document that gives a person authority to act on your behalf, thus becoming your Attorney-in-Fact. The Power of Attorney document can be very specific or very broad. You can give your Attorney-in-Fact the power to handle your bank accounts, sell your real property, run your business or apply for public benefits. Or you can give them the specific power to sell one piece of property.
Why do you need one? Because it’s a simple tool that allows your Attorney-in-Fact to handle your financial matters without entering into more complicated agreements, like a Trust. The Power of Attorney helps eliminate the need for a guardian or conservator. You should pick someone you trust to hold the legal authority to make decisions should you experience an unforeseen event like a stroke or car accident.
There are four types of Powers of Attorney:
A General Power of Attorney: allows the Attorney-in-Fact to act as you in dealing with financial accounts and managing personal finances. However, it is terminated upon your incapacitation. It can also be revoked.
A Durable Power of Attorney: allows the Attorney-in-Fact to act on your behalf and includes a durability clause that keeps the Power of Attorney in place after you become incapacitated.
A Special or Limited Power of Attorney: this is when you have given the Attorney-in-Fact very specific powers which limit their authority and responsibility.
A Springing Durable Power of Attorney: this only becomes effective upon your incapacitation. In Utah, a Power of Attorney is considered durable unless it expressly states that it terminates upon your incapacitation.
As is so whenever you write a legal document, you have choices to make. So, you need to be clear about what you truly want your Power of Attorney to do for you.
Some additional important points about Powers of Attorney are:
The power must be given, it is not something you can obtain over someone on your own.
In order to create one, you must have the legal capacity to understand the authority that you are assigning to someone.
The Attorney-in-Fact only has the authority to do those things that are designated in the document.
The appointed person must make decisions the way you want. They cannot follow their own desires when representing you.
Once again, while you could certainly benefit from a Power of Attorney, there might be someone in your life who needs one right now. Whether you would like to have a Power of Attorney ready for use in the future, or whether you have a loved one who could benefit from one right now, call us today to set up your free consultation.