What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal estate planning document that grants another person the power to take action on your behalf. You can think of a POA as a way to appoint a decision-maker who takes your place when you no longer possess the mental capacity to act on your own. Creating a POA is a decision that you make privately, and it is also a relatively affordable process.
In most cases, a POA appointee has three main roles. These include the following:
- Managing financial and legal matters on your behalf
- Making important medical decisions on your behalf
- Making other key decisions in your place
The specific responsibilities of a POA appointee can vary widely, and they may include anything from paying bills to selling property.
If you want to make sure that your POA lasts even if you’re strongly incapacitated or pass away, then you may choose to create an enduring or continuing power of attorney, which means the POA continues to be effective even if you lose your mental capacity as the grantor. If you don’t have an enduring or continuing power of attorney, then the question as to who is allowed to make decisions on your behalf once you’re no longer able to do so becomes tricky.