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When would I need to use power of attorney?

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Quick Answer

A power of attorney is needed when a person is unable to handle affairs or considered legally incapable to make decisions about finances, medical and household issues, explains the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid. A person incapacitated due to absence, illness or an accident can designate a power of attorney.

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When would I need to use power of attorney?
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Full Answer

A power of attorney can be designated at any time and possesses complete or minimal power over affairs as designated by the originator, according to the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid. Power of attorneys are often used when people are out of state and need to designate an individual to sell or purchase a home. This one-time limited use of a power of attorney is documented with legal paperwork.

If an illness or an accident renders a person unable to conduct personal affairs or takes away the mental capacity to make decisions, a power of attorney is needed to pay expenses, collect income, process loans, distribute funds or request medical care. The power of attorney can be given legal rights to make medical decisions for the individual, notes the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid.

Various types of power of attorney designations are available. For example, a durable power of attorney stays in effect for a lifetime unless canceled, whereas a springing power of attorney begins when specific life events happen as designated in the legal documents, according to the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid. Even if a person is designated as a power of attorney, the originator of the legal paperwork may still have the right and ability to conduct affairs or make decisions. A power of attorney can also be canceled at any time.

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