4 Questions About Power of Attorney

Check out these 4 questions about power of attorney. Then, call our office today to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your claim.

4 Questions About Power of AttorneyWhat is a Power of Attorney?

  • Signing a power of attorney gives someone authority to handle your affairs, and a standard power of attorney includes specific lists of powers from which to choose. For instance, an individual with power of attorney over your bank account will be authorized to pay bills and write checks, but not to sell your house – unless you give them that power.
  • It is very common for spouses to give powers of attorney to each other because of today’s confidentiality. For example, if the cable bill is in the husband’s name, the cable company just won’t talk to the wife.
  • If you need to handle matters for your elderly parents, you’ll need a power of attorney because it makes it easier for people to help others.’ If you’re sick and need help but don’t have one, it’s very difficult for people to assist you in handling your affairs.
  • A certain amount of abuse formerly took place when some general language authorized a certain amount of annual gift giving – usually tied to the gift tax and annual exclusions. If you want to allow the giving of gifts, include a major gift tax rider, a second document the legislature has established to curtail abuse. The most important factor in granting a power of attorney is choosing a person you can trust and about whom you have no reservations.
  • A person must be competent to grant a power of attorney. Otherwise, they can neither issue nor revoke one.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

  • The term, durable power of attorney simply means that its authority continues in effect, even if the giver becomes incapacitated, but lapses if the person dies.
  • Durable powers of attorney are used almost exclusively, with the exception of those granted for a single purpose, such as when a husband who may be out of town when a home purchase closes grants signatory power to his wife so that she can sign the documents on his behalf.

What are Some Tips for Choosing a Power of Attorney Agent?

  • Choosing a power of attorney agent is very similar to determining who will be your executor. Choose someone who takes care of business, handle bills and manage your accounts.
  • When choosing an executor, don’t necessarily pick the eldest son or the youngest son, but choose someone who has the time and ability to do the job.
  • Someone who is very busy is probably the best person, based on the old age wisdom that says, “If you need something done, give it to a busy person.”
  • Distance is not an issue. If a person is good at what they do, they’ll figure it out.

What is the Legal Liability of a Power of Attorney Agent?

  • A person named as power of attorney is a fiduciary, and owes the person who selected him the duty to handle his care appropriately and to do his best. Everything is geared toward that person’s best interests.
  • Older power of attorney forms, contained a line saying the holder of a power of attorney could make gifts, and the courts have ruled that any such gifts must be for the benefit of the individual.
  • Gifts can be made to help get the person qualified for Medicaid. Gifts can also be made if the person had a history of gift-giving to charities. Gifts cannot be given merely to enrich the holder of the power of attorney.
  • Theoretically, the power of attorney holder can be found liable for civil damages if he abuses its power, and some have gone to jail for misusing a power of attorney to enrich themselves.

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Were you told that you need a power of attorney agent and have questions? Check out these 4 questions about power of attorney, then contact our dedicated attorneys to schedule a consultation.

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