POA Meaning Clarified—Power of Attorney in a Nutshell
Do you need a power of attorney for your personal, business, or medical affairs? Since POA meaning and use are pretty broad, we explain this legal document to a tee.
Access DoNotPay to learn why and when you would need a power of attorney. You can even create it with our POA generator.
A POA is a legal document granting a person the power to act on behalf of another person. While the former individual is called the agent or attorney-in-fact, the latter is the principal.
By choosing the appropriate type of POA, the principal can give the agent limited or broad legal authority over their business, real estate, financial, or medical matters. A person can choose to draft a power of attorney document to:
- Deal with current affairs that they need help with, e.g., they cannot be present for the signing of certain important documents
- Cover potential future events, e.g., if they are out of the country or become physically or mentally incapacitated
You can terminate a power of attorney for a number of reasons, some of which entail an automatic cancellation. We listed the most common ones below:
- The principal:
- Revokes the POA
- Divorces his or her spouse (who was the agent)
- A court invalidates the power of attorney
- The agent can no longer meet the defined obligations
|General POA||Limited POA|
|The agent acts instead of the principal in all matters allowed by the state of residence. He or she can have the authority to do the following:
||The agent has the authority to represent the principal only in specific events or matters. For instance, the agent has the power to:
You should know that a power of attorney agent doesn’t have to be an actual attorney. The principal can appoint anyone, including their friend, cousin, colleague, or an independent expert.
Since a POA can grant immense powers over financial, medical, or property affairs, the principal should choose a reliable and capable person to serve as the agent to:
- Make sure the principal’s wishes and needs are met
- Prevent any mistakes, mishandle, or abuse
The principal can also opt for an expert in a particular area, such as an accountant or lawyer. Hiring professionals can be pricey, so a lot of people appoint a family member instead.
When appointing a person to handle the affairs, the principal must be aware of potential dangers and wrongdoing, such as fraud, misconduct, or theft.
To minimize or prevent the risks, it’s crucial to:
- Prepare a rock-solid power of attorney document specifying all responsibilities as per related state laws
- Ask the agent to submit reports regularly. If the principal’s not knowledgeable about some matters, the agent could report to a professional (e.g., an attorney or personal banker)
- Check, amend, or revoke the original POA if needed
You can create a power of attorney using one of the following options:
|Prepare a POA||Additional Tips|
|Alone||As different states have different regulations regarding powers of attorney, you’ll need to get familiar with them to prepare a POA document by yourself|
|Use online templates||Since most templates are too general, you’ll probably need to change some parts and add particular sections so that the document fulfills your and the state (legal) requirements|
|Hire an attorney||You might end up paying handsomely for the service|
|Subscribe to DoNotPay||DoNotPay can:
You don’t need to spend time checking your state legislation or waste money on hiring an attorney.
Sign up for DoNotPay and take the following steps:
- Choose the Power of Attorney product
- Provide answers to our chatbot’s questions to get the appropriate document
As soon as you finish, DoNotPay generates a customized POA and delivers it to you with two additional notes both parties should review before signing the document.
Do you know that most states require POAs to be notarized? Is that yet another step you need to take and pay for? No, because DoNotPay takes care of this issue! We can connect you with an online notary who will notarize your POA via a live audio-video call.
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