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 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.
This document can be used to handle a variety of situations, and can be customized based on your need. You can grant a POA related to different areas of your life, with varying degrees of power for the agent, and for any timeframe that you desire.
Most states will recognize any POA that is validly signed in another state. So if you make a valid document while living in one state and then move to another state, your document will still be valid in your new state of residence. However, it may be a good opportunity to update your document and prevent it from being “stale”.