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POWER OF ATTORNEY: What It Is, What It Does

POWER OF ATTORNEY FORMS ARE VERY POWERFUL LEGAL DOCUMENTS! The person(s) named as "attorney-in-fact" will have the ability to conduct the business, transactions or conduct set forth on these documents, once the documents are signed, witnessed, notarized and provided to such person(s). In short, these documents allow the person(s) named as attorney-in-fact to carry out the business of the person that grants the attorney-in-fact the stated powers as if the attorney-in-fact was conducting this business himself. These documents should only be created and signed if the person(s) named as "attorney-in-fact" are fully trustworthy and have the best interests in mind of the person signing this document!

What is a "Durable" Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is used to permit a third party (this person is called the "attorney-in-fact") to conduct or engage in most ANY FORM OR TYPE of business on the part of the person signing the form - examples of such business would be buying, selling or transferring property, signing legal documents, purchasing assets, opening bank accounts, buying stocks, etc., all in the name of the person signing the form (and with money owned by the person signing this form). This document is appropriate for individuals who cannot or do not wish to engage in such transactions (for example, but not limited to, an disabled individuals who can no longer leave their residence to conduct certain business) or those who simply are unavailable to conduct the business (individuals that may be leaving the country for a lengthy period of time who desire someone to handle their business on their behalf, or a person that is incarcerated or otherwise unable to conduct his or her own business, for example).

A durable power of attorney usually has no expiration date (thus the designation "durable"). Once signed, the persons named as attorney-in-fact hold the power until the power of attorney is revoked in writing by the person that originally created the document.

What is a Limited Power of Attorney

A Limited Power of Attorney is used to permit a third party (again, an "attorney-in-fact") to conduct or engage in the specific business or transaction stated on the document on the part of the person signing the form. This document differs from the Durable Power of Attorney in two ways: 1) The authority granted under this document is limited to the tasks, business or transactions specifically stated in the document; 2) The authority granted under this document is limited in time, i.e. if the action or business is not taken or engaged in by the date set forth on the document, the authority to do the same lapses. This document is appropriate for individuals who cannot take certain actions on their own because they are unavailable to do so or to do so would result in some inconvenience. Like a durable power of attorney, this limited power of attorney can be revoked in writing.

For both types of powers of attorney, the document must be signed by the person appointing the "attorney in fact" in the presence of two witnesses - then the two witnesses (who should not be named in the document) should sign the form. Then, the document must be notarized by a notary public.

Once signed, witnessed and notarized, the original version of the document should be provided to each of the persons listed in this document as attorney-in-fact - this may require that two copies of this document be printed and signed by the person making this Power of Attorney. Further, additional copies of this document should be made and retained by the person signing the document.


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DISCLAIMER REGARDING LEGAL ADVICE: None of information contained on this web site is intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and you should not rely solely on the information contained on the site for making legal decisions. When necessary, you should consult with an attorney for specific advice tailored to your situation.


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