A Power of Attorney is different than an Advance Healthcare Directive because an Advance Healthcare Directive only allows another individual to make healthcare decisions on a principal s behalf. It talks about specific circumstances under which a principal would like someone else to be their agent for health and allows a principal to define the types of authority they would like the agent to have. A Power of Attorney is similar, but is used only for financial decisions.
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.
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 Power of Attorney can be used for any adult individuals, but it needs to be notarized in order to be effective. Within these documents, the principal outlines exactly which powers they would like the agent to have. A principal can also appoint a secondary agent, should their agent be unable or unwilling to perform.