How a Power of Attorney Works

By: David Fagan

A power of attorney works by granting some one the legal authority to act on your behalf. During your lifetime you may have had a real estate agent ask you to sign a power of attorney granting them the authority to sell your house for you. Others may not be very aware of how a power of attorney actually works. In this article I will try to define the terms, and explore its different uses.In its most general form, a power of attorney is a formal means of legally sharing the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf with another.

The person who you appoint to share the authority is called the 'agent'. An agent is allowed to make daily decisions in your name and handle business, financial, or legal situations in your name. You can use your power of attorney to define the use of the agent’s authority in very specific situations or in very broad terms, it’s completely up to you.Using a power of attorney is much like making a plan for your future. You have to predict things you won't be able to attend to, then appoint your agent to perform those tasks. For example, people in the military who know important events will take place when they are away from home will fill out a power of attorney form to enable their spouse to handle it on their behalf while their gone. A business owner may use this form because they can't be physically present at a very important business event, so they will empower an agent to act on their behalf. Others may just want to use this form to appoint some one to make their medical decisions according to their wishes if they cannot communicate those wishes themselves.

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