What Does it Mean to be a Power of Attorney?

What does it mean to be a power of attorney?

Let’s say you have a parent who is too sick to manage their finances or even their medical care. To be able to legally pay their bills or make decisions about their care if they are unable to, you must be given power of attorney. When you are given power of attorney you have authority to make legal decisions about finances, medical care and property. Usually, this is granted because a person is too sick to manage their affairs or have suffered a disability that leaves them unable to make decisions. The powers you have may be broad or limited. Your responsibilities can end for a number of reasons that include but are not limited to the person dying, the person revoking, or a court deciding to invalidate it.

For help with DIY power of attorneys planning in Philadelphia, PA, the experts at People's Justice LLC are the team to turn to. We offer a wide variety of legal advice services. Learn more about how we can help or set up an appointment by calling 855-577-7673.

What are the four types of power of attorney?

When you are granted power of attorney, there are four types you can hold.

  • General: When given general POA you can do pretty much anything for the other person including paying bills, opening accounts or make medical decisions.
  • Durable: This is similar to a general POA but has a clause that the agent maintains responsibility even should the principal become incapacitated.
  • Special or Limited: This form limits the agent in his or her responsibilities. You may, for instance, be able to pay bills, but not make medical decisions for the principal.
  • Springing Durable Power of Attorney: This is available in some states in which durable POA goes into effect when a specific event occurs, as when the principal becomes incapacitated. 

What are the powers of a power of attorney?

The powers of a power of attorney will vary depending on the type granted. If you’re granted general POA, you can handle finances, settle claims, employ professional help or make medical decisions. With a limited or special POA, you may be limited to just paying bills, but not handle other financial aspects. In most cases, as long as the principal is of sound mind, they can still make decisions on their behalf. These decisions often override decisions of the agent if there is a disagreement. If a decision is made that the principal disagrees with, the power of attorney can be revoked.

How do I get a power of attorney?

Generally, power of attorney is granted in one of two ways. Normally, the principal and agent discuss the responsibility before the principal suffers any illness or other problem that keeps him or her from managing finances or making decisions. If a person is already mentally incapacitated and no stipulations are made in a living will, you may have to petition a court for conservatorship or adult guardianship. 

In either case, normally a legal document must be drawn up. These documents often can be downloaded online. You may need to sign the documentation in front of witnesses to verify it and in some cases it may need to be notarized. If you have questions or concerns about the legality of the responsibility granted, you may want to hire an attorney or get advice from a group like People's Justice LLC.  

Are power of attorney documents public record

Some powers of attorney will be made part of the public record. Normally, this only involves real estate transactions. These transactions will need to be notarized, and sales of property will be recorded by appropriate city, county or state offices. Copies will be part of the public record, while the original will be returned to the agent submitting it.

Are power of attorney responsible for debt

When a person is granted POA, they are not responsible for the principal’s debt. If the principal no longer has the income to pay a debt like a credit card bill and creditors begin to call you, you are only obligated to explain to the creditor the principal is no longer able to pay and does not want to be approached about it again. The creditor should stop making calls. Their only step should be to go to court if they think they can collect a judgment.

Are power of attorney and executor the same

Having power of attorney and being named executor of a will are two different things. Holding powers of attorney is given to someone while you are still alive. An executor is named in the will to manage affairs after you die. While they are different responsibilities, a person holding powers of attorney could also be named executor after a principal dies.

Can power of attorney change a will

Powers of attorney do not grant the agent any power to make a change to a will. The only person who has the power to change the will is the person who drafts the will.

A Woman Signs Power of Attorney Papers.

How do I override a power of attorney?

Overriding a power of attorney will depend on the principal’s decision, and why the revocation is sought. Generally, the principal granting the POA can revoke it at any time. However, if relatives of the agent believe the agent is abusing their rights or is exploiting the principal, they may take legal action against the agent. They must present in court evidence that the agent is abusing the principal.

If you ever have any questions about the power of attorney in Philadelphia, PA, you can get help from the experts at People's Justice LLC. We offer a variety of legal advice services. Find out how we can help by calling 855-577-7673.