Very simply, it is a written statement you give to another person authorizing them to act for you.
Powers of attorney can be simple or complex, grant broad powers or be limited to single acts, continue indefinitely during your lifetime, or be only for a specific time period.
In other words, powers of attorney are flexible and can be shaped to meet your needs.
Powers of attorney also are powerful. Depending on how they are written, they can be used to handle your banking, sell your property, or file government applications.
For many people, there are two basic powers of attorney: financial powers of attorney and powers of attorney for health care decisions.
Financial powers of attorney will cover things like banking, insurance, the right to mortgage property, to collect debts, to purchase securities, and the right to sell or lease property.
Health care powers of attorney will cover the right of your agent to make medical decisions for you – but only if you cannot make them for yourself. Those decisions might include what hospital you use, who your doctors are, and the right to see your medical records.
When considering a power of attorney, I suggest you begin with two questions:
First, and most important, can I trust the person I name as my agent?
Second, what is my goal?
Once you can clearly answer those two questions you will be ready to begin the process of preparing a power of attorney.