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Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that will allow you to appoint a person or organization to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so.  There are different types of these documents and different levels of control which should be discussed with your attorney before you take any steps to enact one.

Generally, the document should be signed, witnessed and notarized by an adult.  In some cases, you may be required to put the document on file in a local records office.  In addition, some POA’s are only active for a short period of time and may be necessary to have on hand for treatment or other services that may be required during the time they are in effect.  The agent named as having the power of attorney has both a legal duty to the person issuing it as well as duties and responsibilities outlined in the document.

Financial, medical and custody POA’s are often put in place for special circumstances but estate documents may also have a POA in place for unexpected long-term events and as a precautionary measure.  Since it is a legal document, deciding who to name in a POA is something you should discuss with both that person and your attorney so each will know of your wishes.  If you cannot take care of things that need to be done due to your absence, illness, incompetence or incapacitation, creating a power of attorney will save worry and other burdens to those who may be affected