What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which you can appoint and authorize another person (usually a trusted friend, family member, colleague or adviser) to act on your behalf and to legally bind you in that respect. While most people fail to see the importance of having a Power of Attorney, there are many compelling reasons why they should be used. Suppose, for example that:

  1. you are going to be out of the country for an extended period, and need someone trustworthy to manage your business affairs while you’re away;
  2. you wish to acquire property in another state, and you need to authorize a local to sign and lodge documents on your behalf;
  3. you want someone to manage your real estate for you; or
  4. you’re getting a little bit older and wish to appoint someone you know and trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should the day come when you are unable to do so yourself.

A Power of Attorney can be used to facilitate your needs in each of these scenarios.

 

The person giving the Power of Attorney is referred to as the ‘donor’, ‘grantor’ or ‘principal’, while the recipient is called the ‘agent’, ‘attorney-in-fact’ or just plain ‘attorney’ (which doesn’t mean they have to be a legal practitioner!).

 


 

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