Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney FormFrom our continuing growing list of legal forms and documents, we have the Power of Attorney form.  A power of attorney is a transfer of certain rights to another so that they may act on your behalf according to the exact terms of the legal document.  The power of attorney or POA are extremely flexible.

When does a Power of Attorney go into effect?

It depends on the language in the document, itself.  You can have it happen immediately after you sign the document.  You can have the POA go into effect at a date in the future, say on December 1st, 2028.  You can decide to have the POA take effect only if a certain thing or act happens.  For example, if I do not return from climbing the Indies Mountains within two years, then the power of attorney comes into play.  It could be more serious such as if I do not wake up out of surgery, then I want to give this person the authority to do these things that are included in the power of attorney.  This is one of the features of a proper POA.

One of the biggest issues in cases like these is the execution of the document.  It is one thing to have all of the signatures, but how you got there is of equal importance.  With online legal forms that ability and desire to challenge them in court is higher than if you went to an attorney.  If the power of attorney was drafted by an attorney, then you would assume that the person had capacity and that everything was completed correctly.  It whitewashes everything.

What is a Specific Power of Attorney?

This document is used a great deal in real estate closings.  This type of power of attorney is for a one time deal.  In the case of a real estate or land closing, the powers given would solely relate to the actions necessary to close on the piece of land or home.  This type of power of attorney could be used in a number of situations where you want to give someone else the right to act on your behalf in a limited circumstance.

Can You Limit the Time a Power of Attorney is Valid?

Yes, you can limit the power of attorney in almost any way.  If you want it to last for two hours or twenty years or forever, you can simply do that.  You can have it last on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of an event.  For example, I give you a POA if I go into a coma, and if I do not wake up in two weeks, then I transfer the POA form to Allison while revoking the POA I gave to you.

If you can dream it, a power of attorney form can make it happen.  However, most people just need and want the basic power of attorney.

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Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North & South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  This power of attorney was drafted by Joseph McClelland.

I have a feeling that this post is going to be controversial.  That will not be my intent, but opinions are very divided on this topic.  Some will say that with a small amount of guidance, anyone can make their own form.  Others will say that it is solely the space for lawyers and attorneys.  What do you think?

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