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Powers of Attorney

Power of Attorney (POA)

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written instrument that allows you (the “principal”) to authorize your agent (the “attorney-in-fact”) to conduct certain business on your behalf. It is one of the strongest legal documents that you can give to another person. There are two types of Powers of Attorney; “general” and “special” (or limited). A general POA gives your agent very broad powers to act on your behalf; and a special POA limits your agent’s authority to act only on certain matters. Every act performed by your agent within the authority of the POA is legally binding upon you. Since a POA is such a powerful document, it should be given only to a trustworthy person, and only when absolutely necessary. Your legal assistance office can advise you about, and prepare for you, the appropriate POA needed for your situation.

General Power of Attorney (GPOA)

A General POA (GPOA) gives your agent the authority to do most things you could do yourself. Making a GPOA can have serious consequences. With a GPOA, your agent can (for example) buy a car with your money, borrow money that you must repay, sell your personal property, or remove all funds from your bank account. While a GPOA may be helpful, it can also be very dangerous. Limit the duration of the GPOA to one year or less. Ensure that your agent is someone that you absolutely trust with all of your money and legal decisions. If you lose trust in your agent, consult a legal assistance attorney about revoking the GPOA. As an alternative, consider one or more special powers of attorney instead. If you only need specific tasks performed while you are away, then you should not obtain a GPOA.

Special (Limited) Power of Attorney

A special, or limited POA authorizes your agent to do only a specified act, such as sell your car, ship your household goods, or cash your paycheck. Because it is more specific, the special POA is safer than a broad GPOA and more likely to be accepted by third parties.

Special Power of Attorney to Act “In Loco Parentis”

The phrase “in loco parentis” means “in the place of the parent.” This common type of special POA grants parental authority to another (such as a caregiver) to perform a range of functions which can include picking up a child from school, buying food and clothing, and consenting to medical treatment for the child in the event of illness or injury. Without this type of special POA a day care center, school, store, hospital or clinic, fearing legal repercussions, may refuse to follow the directives of the caregiver or other agent, and require the specific authorization of the actual parent.
Form - Power of Attorney - Guardianship (Feb 2006).pdf
54 KB
Form - Revocation of Special Power of Attorney.pdf
7 KB
Worksheet - Power of Attorney.doc
44 KB
Revised: 11/6/2014 1:29