A power of attorney is a legal document that give another individual authority to handle your financial affairs. A power of attorney can be durable, meaning that it is effective immediately upon signing, or springing, meaning that it does not become effective until the party who executed the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. In the case of a springing power of attorney, you will generally need verification by at least two (2) physicians to establish incapacitation and need for the power of attorney to become effective. A power of attorney can also be general or limited. A general power of attorney will grant your agent(s) the power to do virtually anything you could do yourself. A limited power of attorney would limit your agent(s) to tasks specifically outlined within the document. For example, a limited power of attorney may only grant the agent the authority to sell a vehicle or a home.

You may name more than one agent to act on your behalf under your power of attorney. Agents can be directed to act jointly which means they cannot take any action individually. You may also designate agents that can act individually. Each agent must sign acknowledging their fiduciary responsibility to act in a manner that serves your best interests. A power of attorney is revocable in that you can notify the agents and any other parties in possession of the power of attorney that it is no longer valid. This should be done in writing and delivered to all interested parties.   By April M. Townsend