What Is a Power of Attorney & Why Would I Need It?
Almost everyone will need a power of attorney at some point in their lives. A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to name a person or an organization to manage your assets in the event that you’re unable to do so.
It’s a decision you need to make carefully, and you have several options when naming a power of attorney in Alabama. In this article, we’re looking at what a power of attorney does, and why you would need to name one.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
In Alabama, a power of attorney is someone named to act on behalf of and make decisions for the person who appointed them.
In short, this means; if for some reason you are not able to make a decision regarding your personal financial or legal issues, the person you gave power of attorney to will be able to do so on your behalf.
In legal terms, you create a relationship backed by law. You are named the ‘principal’, and the person you give POA to is the ‘agent’.
You can use POA for temporary things, such as giving someone the power to manage your financial affairs when you’re out of the country. Or, you can give someone a POA to manage your estate in the event that you become unable to do so yourself due to being incapacitated in some way.
What Can Power of Attorneys Do?
You can hand over just about any responsibility to a POA. As long as you make it clear in a legal document what you’re giving them the power to do.
Some of the common ‘powers’ or responsibilities handed over to a power of attorney are:
Handling financial matters when you’re not able to is one of the most common reasons for awarding POA to someone you trust.
A lot of people name a power of attorney to step in and make financial decisions if they fall sick and are not able to make the decisions themselves.
This can be something as simple as managing house bills in the short term until you’re back from vacation. Or, it could involve handing over a whole estate in the event that you will never be well enough to make decisions yourself.
Real Estate Decisions
Managing real estate is often a time-consuming task. Your properties and tenants will suffer if you’re suddenly not able to make decisions for yourself.
You can assign someone power of attorney to pick up managing your properties in your absence. This can save you a lot of money, as well as ensuring any tenants you have are taken care of.
If you run your own business, operations have to carry on in your absence. Otherwise, you risk losing a lot of money and potentially running into legal issues.
You can name a power of attorney to handle certain urgent day-to-day tasks when you’re not available. Or, you can give someone the power to take over operating your business if something happens to you.
It’s fairly common for people to hand over power of attorney for some of their legal matters. In this instance, you may want to choose an attorney or someone with legal experience as they’ll make informed decisions.
You can use a POA to help with everything from ensuring important and timely legal affairs are taken care of when you’re briefly not available. Or, you might want to assign someone the power to handle your affairs in the event that you’re no longer able to.
Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney?
You should consider naming a person as a power of attorney to manage your affairs in the event that you’re not able to.
It can be a thing of convenience, such as enabling someone to appear in person for deals when you’re busy. Or, you can think ahead and make sure someone you trust will take over your affairs if you suddenly fall ill or are incapacitated in some way.
If you don’t appoint a power of attorney, your business and personal affairs could quickly spiral out of control. In some cases, a court will step in and appoint one or more people to act on your behalf.
Therefore, it’s better you give power of attorney to someone who knows you, and you trust. A lot of people use this principal/agent relationship to help manage their affairs throughout their lives.
It’s important to be aware that a power of attorney expires when the principal dies. The power or authority to manage the principles affairs and estate after death is handed over to the executor.
How to Choose a Power of Attorney
Trust is the biggest factor when choosing power of attorney. It’s a big decision, with potentially huge implications for your loved ones.
Whether you choose a friend, family member, an attorney, or an organization, you need to be sure you can trust them to carry out your wishes and act with your best interests at heart.
You also need to choose someone willing to take on the responsibility. They need to understand what is expected of them, and they should be good at keeping accurate records.
This is a decision an attorney can help you with. But ultimately it’s going to come down to you to select someone you feel is best for the role.
About Warren Freeman Attorney At Law
If you’re considering giving power of attorney to someone in Alabama, hiring an experienced attorney will make sure the POA is lawful and you’re handing over the right powers.
Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s experience working with power of attorney cases in Alabama. He can help you fill out the forms and submit your paperwork quickly, and easily.
Call the office of Warren Freeman, Attorney at Law, today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.