A power of attorney is a legal document that allows one person to give another person the power to make decisions on their behalf. The person creating the document is known as the principal. The person given the power to make decisions may be known as either the agent or the attorney-in-fact. Not all power of attorney documents work in the same way. Some can be revocable while some cannot be revoked. Some are used under certain circumstances. Before deciding to create a power of attorney, it's important to consider the different types available so that you can choose the correct one for your needs.
A power of attorney is important to have in many situations. One common use is by active and reserve military members. For temporary duty out of the United States, a power of attorney may be used by a trusted family member or friend to pay bills or handle other personal affairs during their absence from the country. Generally, that sort of power of attorney ends when the soldier returns to the United States. It can also be used for the purpose of making medical decisions, financial decisions, or business decisions on behalf of the principal.
Creating the right power of attorney document for your specific situation gives you the ability to decide in advance who may make decisions on your behalf and which decisions they may and may not make.
Completing a power of attorney will depend on a couple of factors. The first is the state in which you are a resident. Every state has its own statutes related to power of attorney documents. They generally either provide a statutory form you can use or provide the required components to create a legally binding power of attorney.
The second factor is the type of power of attorney you’re creating. You may need different information for a springing power of attorney may be different than that of a medical power of attorney. With that being said, however, all power of attorney documents require certain information. As the principal, you must provide your legal name as well as your full address, including your zip code, city, state, and county. You’ll need to provide the legal name and full address of your chosen agent or attorney-in-fact. You may also decide to name an alternative agent in the event that your named agent is unable or unwilling to serve. You will need to carefully explain when the power of attorney goes into effect. You’ll also need to clearly explain which decisions the agent may and may not make on your behalf.
Finally, you’ll need to execute the document. Some states require that the principal sign the power of attorney in the presence of a notary public or in front of witnesses.