Should you create a power of attorney?

Should you create a power of attorney?

| Feb 3, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Maybe because of the state’s long and harsh winters, Minnesotans are some of the more resilient and resourceful citizens of the U.S. After all, getting through the cold months requires some planning and thought. You can and probably should apply that same resourceful spirit to your personal life. 

A power of attorney is simply a legal document that authorizes one party to act on behalf of another in certain matters. The person who creates the power of attorney is the principal, and the one who acts on behalf of the principal is the attorney-in-fact. 

What matters do powers of attorney cover?

In theory, a power of attorney may cover virtually any action. In practice, though, powers of attorney usually come up in a just a few situations. First, if your child is going to be away from you for some reason, you may temporarily delegate your parental rights to an attorney-in-fact. 

Second, you may create a health care power of attorney, which allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is a common planning tool for those who fear an illness or injury may incapacitate them. 

Third, you may choose to execute a power of attorney for legal or financial matters. 

How do you maintain control?

If you have some reservations about handing over control to an attorney-in-fact, you are certainly not alone. 

Fortunately, you can maintain as much control as you want by using precise language in your designation. You can also typically revoke a power of attorney at any time for any reason or no reason at all. 

Ultimately, the level of control you choose to designate to an attorney-in-fact and the length of the arrangement are entirely up to you. 

William G. Peterson
FindLaw