Powers of Attorney
A financial power of attorney designates an agent to act on behalf of the principal regarding specified financial matters. A power of attorney can be durable, meaning that it will be effective even upon the subsequent disability of the principal. A financial power of attorney can be of critical importance if someone becomes unable to govern his or her own financial affairs.
A power of attorney may grant broad powers to an agent. The individual executing a power of attorney should have a high level of trust in any person or persons named to serve as agent pursuant to a power of attorney and should understand the level of authority granted under the terms of the power of attorney.
Powers of attorney can be effective immediately or only upon the incapacity of the principal, otherwise known as a springing power of attorney. A power of attorney can designate an individual agent or co-agents. Co-agents may be given the authority to act individually or may be required to act together.
If a person becomes incapacitated and did not previously execute a power of attorney, a guardianship may become necessary to handle the financial affairs of that individual. Additionally, an incapacitated person may have previously executed a power of attorney, but, if the power of attorney is invalid or does not grant the authority required by the agent, a guardianship could still become necessary.