Philadelphia Powers of Lawyer
If you are concerned about your future interests and want to establish a mechanism to protect these interests, a Power of Attorney may be a useful tool for you. A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written legal document which authorizes a person (known as either an “agent” or “attorney in fact”) to handle certain private or business matters for the benefactor of the document (the “principal” or “grantor”).
A Power of Attorney document can take on several forms, and be as limited or complicated in scope as you require. It can be designed to specify precisely the powers you wish to grant your agent. Given the importance of this document and the specificity required, it is in your best interests to retain a knowledgeable attorney to design this document on your behalf.
What Is the Purpose of a POA?
A Power of Attorney provides an agent to make decisions on the principal’s behalf if the principal is unable to do so themselves. This may be limited to certain business decisions, but may be designed to extend to health care decisions as well. No matter the scope of the document, the agent always has a duty to act in the best interests of the principal. Nevertheless, it is vital that the principal chose an agent who they trust completely. A family member, close friend, or trusted business associate is generally the best option.
Requirements for a POA
It is critical that the principal have the requisite mental capacity at the time of the document’s execution. This means that the individual must be of a sound state of mind and not as of yet stricken by a mind altering illness or injury. Such would invalidate the document.
Usually, a Power of Attorney is no longer effective once capacity is lost. This is because the principal would no longer be able to knowingly grant the individual permission to act on their behalf. However, a type of POA called a “durable power of attorney” is exists to enable the agent to act on behalf of the principal even after capacity is at issue. This way the agent can act on the principal’s behalf until death.
For a POA to be effective, it must be (1) signed and dated by the principal, (2) signed by two witnesses, neither of whom are the agent or an individual who signed on the principal’s behalf, and (3) acknowledged before a Notary Public. If any of these three requirements are excluded, the POA may not survive a challenge of the document.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
While the concept of a POA is quite simple, the execution of the document is far more complicated. You need to decide whether you want a Power of Attorney which will only apply to certain business activities, or a durable power of attorney which will endure regardless of your mental capacity, or even a health care power of attorney which may be designed to give the agent decision making authority on health related matters even to the point of termination of life support. Your specific needs and desires need to be reflected in the document. With the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can be confident in the details of the POA and that the document is suitably tailored to you.
Call The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation and meet with one of our expert attorneys to discuss your needs.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.