Do You Need a Power of Attorney?

“Do I need a power of attorney?” may not be on your own personal list of frequently asked questions, but it is something to consider. Be sure to get appropriate legal advice about what type(s) might be best in your situation, and on how to make sure they can be used.

You may want to think about setting up a power of attorney when getting your estate planning done, if you’ll be out of the country for an extended period of time and will need someone else to handle your affairs, or if you are being admitted to the hospital or are seriously ill.

There are a few different types of power of attorney, but they all allow a designated person to make decisions for you and/or act on your behalf. Some are very broad, while others allow only specific acts or refer only to specific situations. Likewise, some take effect immediately, while others only take effect in certain circumstances.

In any case, if you do decide on a power of attorney, it’s important that you appoint a person that you really trust, because you are granting them the power to act as if they were you.

Depending on the rights granted, the person you appoint could do things like buy and sell property, sign you up for credit cards, open and close bank accounts, etc. You want to be certain that they’ll act in your best interest.

Also, if you’ve gotten a power of attorney set up but it’s no longer necessary (or if you’ve named someone who’s no longer in your life) it’s important to revoke it instead of leaving it hanging out there. It’s easy to forget that kind of thing, which could cause problems later.