Power of Attorney

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Power of Attorney

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First and foremost do not use a Power of Attorney unless you absolutely need one. If you need a power of attorney have one prepared but do not sign it until you actually need it. Make sure there is an expiration date on the power of attorney, usually for a short period of time and never longer than 2 years. Never use a general power of attorney when a special power of attorney will do. Consider giving someone your power of attorney form when an extended absence prevents you from handling your own affairs or when an transaction has to be completed in your absence. The power of attorney has no effect unless it is in the possession of the individual named or has already been given to financial institutions, etc. to indicate you want that person to act on your behalf. If you have not given the document out, you can revoke it by destroying it and executing a new document. 

Power of Attorney Form

A "power of attorney" is a legal form by which you (the "principal") give certain powers to someone else.  This person becomes your "attorney-in-fact" (the "agent"); authorized to act for you, in your place. A power of attorney form specifies exactly what powers you give to your attorney-in-fact.  You can limit your attorney-in-fact to very limited powers.  For example, if you will be on vacation and are selling your house, you can give someone (your attorney, for instance) the power to sign the deed in your absence.  Most general durable powers of attorney, however, give your attorney-in-fact the power to do almost anything you could do. When it comes to dealing with banks, brokerage firms, and the like, however, the power of attorney is only as good as the institution's willingness to recognize it.  Institutions can and do impose their own requirements.

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General Power of Attorney (5139) Special Power of Attorney (3402)