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What is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives an individual (referred to as the attorney-in-fact or agent) the authority to act on behalf of someone else, known as the principal. The principal carefully selects this person to have the power to make legal decisions about the principal’s medical care, property, or finances. A power of attorney is commonly used if the principal becomes ill or disabled and is unable to participate in decision-making. They are also often used if the principal can’t be present to sign critical legal documents for financial transactions.

A POA can become null under certain circumstances, such as if:

  • The principal dies
  • The principal revokes it
  • A court invalidates it
  • The principal divorces their spouse, who happens to be the agent
  • The agent can no longer carry out the designated responsibilities

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A ‘durable’ power of attorney means remains in force even if the person they are represented becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. For example, if the client is in a coma or suffers from amnesia. A durable power of attorney, however, doesn’t continue after someone dies. Suppose the power of attorney isn’t designated as durable. In that case, if someone becomes mentally incapacitated, the authority of a power of attorney is voided.

Drafting a POA

If you are going to take the time to create a POA, you want to be sure that it’s legally binding. The best way to draft and obtain a POA is to enlist the services of an experienced Crown point estate planning attorney. Your attorney will know the specific Indiana laws and guidelines that apply to your situation. Everyone who needs to create a POA should understand that:

  • State laws, procedures, and forms may vary
  • Every state accepts some version of the durable power of attorney

There are a few powers that cannot be delegated to a POA. These include the power to:

  • Make, amend, or revoke your will
  • Contract a marriage in most states
  • Vote, however, the guardian may request a ballot on the principal’s behalf

Your Crown point estate planning lawyer can educate you on what can and can’t be included in your POA, ensuring that it is legally binding.

The Steps for Creating a POA

Not all POAs are the same or include the same things. However, the steps to creating one should be similar:

  • Write it down—verbal instructions generally won’t work 
  • Use the correct format according to your state’s laws—a Crown point estate planning attorney can help with this
  • Identify who is the principal and who is the agent or attorney-in-fact
  • Delegate the powers—your POA can be as broad or limited as you want it to be, but it must be clear
  • Specify durability—if you want your POA to last a lifetime and not just if or until you are incapacitated
  • Notarize—Whether your state requires it or not, notarizing your POA will make it easier to enforce

Do You Need a POA? A Crown Point Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Selecting, understanding, and drafting a POA can be confusing and tricky. A seasoned Crown point estate planning lawyer from Arshad, Pangere & Warring can help you with all of these tasks. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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We understand that life doesn’t always go the way you plan. That’s why we accept credit cards and offer payment plans.

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