A power of attorney (POA) is a document that a principal signs to give an agent, usually a loved one, the power to handle his financial affairs should he become mentally or physically incapacitated. Powers given to an agent vary but may include buying and selling stocks, managing bank accounts and managing any real estate owned by the principal, according to PLEA.
Those considering drafting a power of attorney document are encouraged to seek the advice of a legal professional. An attorney can help a principal decide what powers should be transferred to the agent and will help to safeguard the principal's interests. If the principal does not want to go through a lawyer, he may draft up a non-enduring power of attorney himself.
People who draft a power of attorney do so when they are still mentally and physically able to handle their own financial matters. There are two basic types of POAs, according to PLEA: personal and property. A personal POA gives the agent the power to decide where the principal will live or what kind of help is needed in the home of the principal. A property POA allows the agent to make decisions about property and financial matters. Agents have access to bank accounts, can buy or sell real estate or maintain alimony or child support payments.