power of attorney

Working with a Power of Attorney

Under a power of attorney, you name someone who steps in your shoes and becomes you, legally. Using a written legal instrument, you, as principal, appoint another person as your agent, also known as your “attorney-in-fact,” and confer authority on the agent to perform the acts specified within the instrument as if you had done the act yourself. Unless a Power of Attorney specifies the specific act that the agent can perform, the agent cannot act on your behalf. In other words, a blanket power of attorney that authorizes your agent to do “any and all acts” is ineffective.




A “durable” power of attorney is effective whether or not the principal has capacity. If the principle becomes incapacitated, then the agent can continue to act on behalf of the principle. By contrast, a nondurable power of attorney is not valid once the principal becomes incapacitated. The benefit of having a durable versus a nondurable attorney in fact is that you will have avoided the need for a court appointed guardian should you become incapacitated.


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