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Power of Attorney

What is a power of attorney?

It’s common to execute powers of attorney for healthcare, finances, real estate, and business purposes. Each has a separate, limited purpose. The gist is that a trusted helper (i.e. agent) is legally empowered to help you should you need or want help.

1. A healthcare power of attorney empowers your agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make those decisions yourself.

2. A financial power of attorney appoints your agent to make financial decisions and manage bills.

3. A real estate power of attorney authorizes your agent to manage, buy, or sell real estate such as if your spouse will attend a real estate closing, but you will not.

4. A business power of attorney grants your agent the power to make decisions related to your business such as if you are disabled or on vacation.

When is my power of attorney effective?

Well, that depends. Most powers of attorney are effective immediately, but others are springing powers of attorney. A “springing” power of attorney springs into action upon the occurrence of an event such as disability or event such as a vacation or semi-retirement. We'd be happy to review your power of attorney and let you know when it is effective.

What's a springing power of attorney?

Most powers of attorney documents are effective immediately upon signing; others are only effective and ready to use upon the occurrence of some event or a date. Powers of attorney that spring to life upon the upon the occurrence of some event (incapacity) or some date (such as September 16th or the date of the closing for the sale of 123 Main St.) are called “springing powers of attorney.”

Where do I file my Power of Attorney?

Your power of attorney isn’t filed anywhere. Unlike a will, a power of attorney isn’t filed anywhere public.

WARNING: While you are alive and well, be sure the bank and investment company will honor your power of attorney. If not, sign theirs.

Will the Social Security office accept my Power of Attorney?

Often, financial institutions, including the government and the department of Social Security, want their own power of attorney signed. We’ll help you get the paperwork needed to deal with the departments of Social Security and Veterans Affairs.

Will the bank accept my Power of Attorney?

We don’t know. Sometimes institutions accept powers of attorney and often they don’t because they are concerned about their own liability. They get concerned that the document is too old, has been revoked, isn’t legally binding, or has been forged. Often, financial institutions, including the government and the department of Social Security want their own power of attorney signed. It’s imperative to find out now, while you can still sign additional legal documents, whether your power of attorney will be honored or you need to sign theirs. We’ll help you.

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