This document can be used if someone is looking to appoint an agent to make financial decisions for them right now, or if someone would like to set up a document that is ready to go in case of incapacity. In this document, the principal or their representative will be able to enter pertinent identifying details about the parties. The person filling out the document will also be asked a series of questions to define exactly what types of authority the principal wants to give the agent.
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.
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.
After inputting the required information, the Power of Attorney should be printed out and signed by the principal, as well as notarized.