A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to name your business or personal agent, someone who will make decisions or take actions on your behalf if you cannot. Your business or personal agent will make sure that your wishes are communicated to and taken into account by other parties. If you are out of the country when you are closing a business deal, paying a professional to manage your assets, keeping a personal assistant to do all of your banking and errands, or allowing your child to travel with a family friend, you can grant an agent power of attorney to sign documents on your behalf and/or make decisions for you.
A General POA gives an Agent broad power to act on your behalf, taking any action or making any decision that would normally fall to you. Here is a list of some of the general powers you can grant to your Agent:
- Sell real property or tangible personal property.
- Buy and sell stocks and bonds.
- Handle all banking.
- Operate a business.
- Buy insurance and annuities.
- Manage estates, trusts, and other beneficiary interests.
- Handle all claims and litigation.
- Manage all personal and family affairs.
- Prepare and file taxes.
A Power of Attorney can help make your life much easier, by allowing someone you trust to take certain actions on your behalf. Without this document, you might not be able to travel out of town, make certain investments, or handle business or personal affairs.
In addition, if you ever become incapacitated, without this document, even if you have a spouse, the court may need to step in and appoint a guardian or conservator for you. The process of appointing a guardian is costly and requires the guardian to formally report your situation to the court each year. CNN Money estimates that the process of obtaining a court appointed guardian exceeds $1,000. If this is the situation you find yourself in now, please read our guide about getting guardianship over your elderly parent here.
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