How To Obtain Power Of Attorney
According to The Florida Bar Association, a power of attorney is a legal document that grants one person the authority to make decisions and transact business on another’s behalf. The person who cedes the power of attorney is known as the “principal” and grants the other person, known as the agent, the right to carry out business in the principal’s stead. Power of attorney may be useful in a variety of different situations, such as selling a car or home, accessing the principal’s bank account, making health care decisions on the principal’s behalf, or signing legal documents. For these reasons, many people have questions about how to obtain power of attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan. At Fleurinord Law, PLLC we provide our clients with legal support in estate planning, probate, taxation and business planning. Our offices in Houston, Texas and Miami, Florida work with our clients to help them understand complex legal processes. Consider contacting us today for a free phone consultation at (888) 904-2297.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Power of Attorney?
While there is no legal requirement for a lawyer to prepare or review a power of attorney, there are multiple advantages to receiving legal advice when considering how to obtain power of attorney. Some reasons for seeking professional legal support in preparing power of attorney documents include:
- A lawyer can help ensure that a power of attorney meets state requirements. Power of attorney requirements may differ depending on the laws of the state where you reside, and a skilled lawyer may be able to advise and guide you on the requirements.
- In complex financial and legal situations, or in developing documentation for medical power of attorney, a lawyer may have the legal expertise to help guide you through the process of drafting a clear, valid, and legally binding power of attorney tailored to your specific needs.
- If you are not sure what type of power of attorney is most appropriate to your situation, an attorney may be able to provide you with practical legal advice.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a Power of Attorney?
The cost to draft a power of attorney varies according to the type of power of attorney, its length, and its complexity. However, the average cost across all states is about $250. If you are working with an attorney, they may choose to charge hourly or through a flat fee payment structure.
How Do I Get Power of Attorney?
In the US, many elderly adults recognize the importance of power of attorney––according to the American Association of Retired Persons, over 80 percent of people 72 and older have estate-planning documents. However, many might wonder how to obtain Power of Attorney. There is a seven-step process, which includes:
- Selecting the agent or proxy: This is the person who will make decisions if you, the principal, are unavailable. The key to this step is selecting someone trustworthy, who can make wise decisions in stressful situations. Often this person may be a spouse or one of your adult children. A principal may choose to name only one person or several, although it is important to remember that if multiple agents hold the same power of attorney, they must unanimously agree on each decision. Another option is to name separate individuals as the agents for financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and so on.
- Discussing responsibilities with the agent: The principal must make sure that the person selected to be the agent consents to accepting the responsibility and is aware of what their role entails.
- Choosing the right type of power of attorney: There are different types of power of attorney, including durable, nondurable, limited, medical, and financial. The relevant type of power of attorney will depend on the situation.
- Drafting the power of attorney: There are several essential components to this document including:
- The date that the power of attorney is created
- The start date of the power of attorney and, if relevant, its expiration date
- The name of the principal and the name of the chosen agent
- The rights granted to the agent
- Clauses that detail the principal’s wishes
- The signatures of both the principal and the agent
- Legalizing the power of attorney: The document must be signed and executed according to state laws. Often, this involves signing before witnesses or having the document notarized.
- Storing the power of attorney: This is an important document, so make sure to store it safely in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box at the bank.
- Making updates to the power of attorney: As developments occur in life, you may find that you need to update the power of attorney, possibly to change key clauses or even change the chosen agent.
Understanding the intricacies of Power of Attorney can be confusing, so it may be helpful to speak with experienced legal experts, such as those at Fleurinord Law, PLLC for guidance.
What Is a Limited Power of Attorney?
There are different types of power of attorney that may be relevant to different situations and needs. A limited power of attorney, also known as a specific or special power of attorney, refers to a type of power of attorney in which the agent can only legally make decisions on behalf of the principal within the limits of a specific time frame, scope, or document. When that situation or purpose is no longer applicable, the agent is no longer authorized to act on the principal’s behalf. In cases where the principal has passed away, a limited power of attorney is no longer valid.
Some situations in which one might wish to obtain a limited power of attorney include:
- The principal is ill and needs someone to make business decisions on their behalf
- The principal wants to buy or sell property in another state or country but cannot go there themselves
- The principal is traveling and needs someone to make investment decisions on their behalf while they are out of the country
Thinking about the type of situation in which the limited power of attorney is applicable may also help the principal to decide whom they wish to name as their agent.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Understanding how to obtain power of attorney can seem overwhelming, which is why it may be helpful to work with an experienced lawyer. At the Fleurinord Law, PLLC offices in Houston, Texas and Miami, Florida, we work closely with our clients to provide legal support that meets their estate planning needs. Consider reaching out to us for a complimentary consultation at (888) 904-2297.