A power of attorney authorizes one person to act on behalf of another person in the event that they become incapacitated. A power of attorney generally goes into effect when the person is incapacitated, but they can also go into effect in other situations, such as:

  • According to a set date stated in the power of attorney documents
  • If the person is out of country or cannot be present to sign a document
  • According to verbal instructions
  • If the person has become otherwise unable to make legal decisions on their own

There are many different power of attorney types. For instance, there are financial power of attorneys, medical power of attorneys, and various other types. These may each have their own terms regarding when they go into effect.

What Should Be Contained in a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney should contain important terms and information such as:

  • Which person is named to be the person’s representative
  • The purpose of the power of attorney arrangement (i.e., whether medical, financial, or other purpose)
  • The scope of duties and responsibilities to be handled
  • Specific dates or conditions which will trigger the power of attorney going into effect
  • The exact manner and conditions under which the power of attorney can be terminated

Power of attorney documents can sometimes be modified in the future. Also, some power of attorney forms include a clause regarding the legal action to take in the event of a dispute. For instance, the parties may agree that lawsuits are suitable to remedy a dispute; or they may decide that dispute resolution is the way to handle disputes.

What Are Power of Attorney Scams?

Power of attorney scams occur where one party deceives the other into allowing them to act as their representative. This is common among elderly persons, and can even happen between relatives or family members. One way to prevent power of attorney scams is to include clear instructions regarding when the representation can go into effect. Often times, a scam is accomplished because the person granting the power of attorney wasn’t completely clear on the manner in which the relationship went into effect.

Do I need a Lawyer for Help with Power of Attorney Arrangements?

Power of attorney arrangements can lead to confusion if the documents are not written and organized clearly. They can also lead to disputes or fraud, especially if one of the parties is unaware of the scope of the agreement. You may need to hire an estate lawyer if you need help drafting, reviewing, or enforcing a power of attorney document. An experienced lawyer in your area can inform you of what to do, and can represent you in court if needed.