The powers that you can grant your attorney-in-fact include:
- Real Estate: To buy, sell, rent, or otherwise manage residential, commercial, and personal real estate.
- Business: To invest, trade, and manage any and all business transactions and decisions, as well as handle any claim or litigation matters.
- Finance: To control banking, tax, and government and retirement transactions, as well as living trust and estate decisions. Financial powers also allows your representative to control personal insurance policies and to continue donating to any charities in your stead.
- Family: To purchase gifts, employ professionals, and to buy, sell or trade any of your personal property.
- General Authority: This grants your personal attorney the authority to make any decisions that you would be able to if you were personally present.
Powers of Attorney in the United States are subject to the laws of individual states, so the document changes to conform to your particular state s laws. There is no overall federal law concerning Powers of Attorney, but there is a model Uniform Power of Attorney Act which many states have adopted, fully or partially.
To choose an attorney-in-fact, you must consider your options carefully. Aside from your personal preferences, there are also legal requirements for who you select. Your attorney-in-fact may not: Be under the age of majority in your state. Currently be in a state of bankruptcy. Be the owner or employee of a care home where the principal resides or receives treatment.
If you take the time to create a Power of Attorney, you want to make sure that it will be effective. There are situations where your document may be rejected, or powerless if you aren’t careful. Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure your POA won’t be powerless:
- Use a state-specific form – Each state has different laws and statutes governing this document. Our state-specific forms are customized for each particular state.
- Make sure you have all signatures and authorizations – Some banks and financial institutions have specific requirements as to who needs to sign the document.
- Keep it up-to-date – If your state has rewritten its laws or your document is more than several years, it may be considered ‘stale’ and may need to be updated.
- Get it witnessed and notarized – Sign your document in front of witnesses, stating that you were competent and signed the document voluntarily. Also make sure to get your document authenticated by a notary public.
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