Power of attorney is an important legal instrument in estate planning. And it’s different from the last will and testament in that it allows you to authorize someone else to step in your shoes and complete certain tasks when you’re unable to. The document has several legal provisions.
But despite the common use of a power of attorney, several people do not know how to use a power of attorney for their benefit. The reason for this, unfortunately, is that many people are misinformed about POAs and there are too many misbeliefs around.
To ensure that you have the right person making healthy decisions about your health, finances, and children on your behalf, learn about the common POA misconceptions below:
1. You can sign the POA when legally incompetent
If someone tells you this, run for the hills. It’s not true. You cannot sign the POA or any other legal document if you’re legally incompetent. You must be legally competent to sign it.
So, if you think that you can ask a lawyer to come to your home or office and have your incapacitated and incompetent dad or mom to sign the POA giving you control over their finances or health, you’re greatly mistaken.
Once declared incompetent, the only available legal recourse involves going to court for guardianship or conservatorship rights.
2. You could obtain a ready power of attorney document from the internet
While this is true, you need to consider getting a blank form rather than a prefilled POA document from the internet. The reason for this is that the POA must be created to represent your unique circumstances appropriately.
Even when you obtain a Power of attorney form from the internet, make sure that the form meets the unique requirements of the state. It should also be current, specific, and should have the details of the relevant authorities like the notary public.
3. A power of attorney is standard
This is the other big misconception on the power of attorney. Before using the power of attorney document, you should know that a principal is the only one with the power to determine the powers they wish to grant the agent.
There are two main types of POAs – the general POA governing all the POA powers like asset management and health and the special/ limited power of attorney which gives the agent less and specific powers. A healthcare advance directive is also different as it only covers medical matters.
4. POAs grant agents the right to do whatever they wish with the estate
This is incorrect. An agent has a fiduciary obligation only to make decisions in the principal’s best interests. Despite being named an agent, you don’t get to act on your beliefs, interests or wishes.
5. A durable POA will survive death
The other painful misconception around durable POAs is that the document can survive death. Well, this is inaccurate because all the powers of attorney documents lose their powers upon the death of the principal. So, the powers of the agent terminate at death. You may download power of attorney in Florida , Texas, Michigan or any other US state from this website forms.legal