You should consider having a POA if: You travel out of the country often. You are employed in a hazardous work environment. You have been diagnosed with a serious illness. You have business or property that you would want maintained if you were unavailable. You have children that would need to be provided for if you were to become incapacitated. You want a specific person to be responsible for your affairs. You have rules about how you run your business, property, or life, and you want to ensure they are upheld. You are approaching old age and would like to designate a representative for yourself.
A simple POA will identify the following basic elements:
- Agent(s): a responsible and trustworthy person acting on your behalf.
- Principal: person assisted with personal, business, or legal matters.
- Grant of Authority: general or specific authority to take certain actions.
- Effective Date: when the the form effectively begins, usually immediately.
- Signatures: the Principal and a Notary must sign the document.
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.
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.