Suppose you fall ill or, for various reasons, are unable to carry out your regular duties as before. In that case, you can have someone else make decisions on your behalf regarding your finances, property and medical care. This is done by granting power of attorney to the other party, usually referred to as an agent.
As the name suggests, the agent has the power to oversee your estate and make decisions for you. Such powers may vary and are defined by the level of control that you granted the agent over your affairs.
Types of power of attorney
Power of attorney can be durable. Here, the agent is authorized to act as your attorney once you sign the documents and can continue to do so when you become incapacitated. However, it can also be non-durable, where the agent will cease their authority once you become incapacitated.
In addition, the powers of the designated agent may either be general, with extensive control or specific, limited to certain roles and decisions such as health care alone.
You can revoke a power of attorney
For any reason whatsoever, including a change of mind, you can revoke a power of attorney granted to your agent. Other instances may include their unavailability, death or a change in the relationship between both of you.
You can revoke a power of attorney by:
- Signing a new power of attorney which replaces all other existing power of attorney.
- Writing to revoke the power of attorney whereby you inform the agent, fill in the revocation papers and sign them in the presence of a notary.
- By destroying it, in case no one else besides yourself has a copy, including the agent.
Understanding the legalities of a power of attorney could save you a lot of headaches when navigating the sometimes complex state laws, which vary depending on your jurisdiction.