Article | 2:17 min read

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

Life Events

Power of attorney paperwork sitting on a desk

What is it?

A power of attorney (POA) “is a legal document in which the principal (you) designates another person to act on your behalf to make all decisions, in specified matters or in all matters.” In other words, a POA is a document that grants someone else the power to make all of your decisions, should you not be able to make them for yourself [1]. There are different types of POA, so be sure that you are signing the one that best applies to your needs.

Who should get it?

For people that travel frequently or are part of the military and will be serving overseas, a POA document is a logical option that should be considered. Other age groups that should consider setting up the logistics for a POA are retirees or people of a more advanced age [1].

Who should I choose as my guardian?

When picking a guardian, or the person who you are allowing to make all of your decisions, choose wisely. This person will have access to your finances, your house, and more importantly, your health. This should be someone that you trust without hesitation [1].

When is the right time to assign a POA?

POA's should be assigned and in place before the principal can no longer do so. In order for the document to take effect, the principal must be of sound mind and body. In theory, it would be beneficial for everyone to have a POA. It is suggested that couples sign a POA while they are doing other paperwork such as their will [2].

When will it take effect?

The POA doesn't come into play until the principal can no longer make their own decisions, or is legally incapacitated. This can be either physical or mental. If it is physical, the principal may be in a coma. If it is mental, the principal is suffering from some sort of mental illness that has taken away their rationality or the person is legally insane [2].

Why should I have one?

Once you become incapacitated, your family does not automatically have access to make your decisions. Without the power of attorney, families may have to go through long, strenuous processes in order to make your decisions, which could ultimately hurt both you and your family. Not to mention, if you don't appoint someone, the court has the power to appoint someone on your behalf if you become incapacitated and you have no say who has control. POAs make it easier on your family, and hopefully more beneficial to you; consider getting a POA now to save the trouble later.


[1] Power Of Attorney: Do You Need One? Investopedia
[2] When does power of attorney take effect? FreeAdvice Legal


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