1. A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document in which you authorize a specific person (or persons) to act on your behalf in certain situations.
  2. The designated person is called your “attorney-in- fact”.
  3. A POA needs to be in writing, witnessed, and notarized.
  4. POAs can be used for finances, health care, and custody of minor children.
  5. POAs can be anywhere from very broad to limited to a specific situation, such as the sale of a property or filing taxes.
  6. POAs can take effect immediately or upon the occurrence of something in the future, usually your incapacity as defined by a physician (future-effect POAs are called “springing”). Some POAs also can become during lengthy unexplained absences.
  7. Most POAs are “durable.” This means they remain effective upon your incapacity. However, POAs become null-and- void upon your death.
  8. POAs are revocable – you can change them at any time.
  9. While most POAs are used when you are incapacitated or just want your loved ones to help you pay the bills, make medical decisions, they also are used in other specific situations, such as when people travel overseas frequently or are in the military.
  10. What if you don’t have one and become incapacitated? A loved one may need to transact business or make medical decisions on your behalf. This may require a court-ordered and supervised guardianship, which can be costly, time-consuming, and burdensome.
  11. Selling jointly owned property (even property owned by a husband and wife)? All owners must sign the deed. If one is incapacitated, an attorney-in- fact could sign on his or her behalf. Without a POA, a guardianship becomes necessary.
  12. Own investments? A Power of Attorney can be used to give someone authority to review your investment accounts and buy/sell as necessary. While you may have already given someone trading authority to act on your behalf, these may lose effectiveness if you become incapacitated.

A Power of Attorney is an easy, cost-effective way to prevent problems for your loved ones down the road. Call us today to schedule your appointment at 580-234- 6300.

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