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Financial Power of Attorney

To understand a Financial Power Of Attorney it is helpful to first understand some terminology. As an example, if Bill Smith executes (signs before a notary) a Power of Attorney giving his daughter Mary Smith authority to act for him, Bill is the “Principal” and Mary is the “Agent” (sometimes referred to as the Attorney-in Fact).

Not all Powers of Attorney are the same.  When someone refers to a Power of Attorney, they are really referring to a type of document.  Some Powers of Attorney have one agent serving at a time, some Powers of Attorney have two or more people who are serving as agents at the same time (co-agents). If there are co-agents, the Power of Attorney may provide that each agent can act individually or it may provide that all acts be unanimous or by majority of the co-agents.

The authority given to an agent may be limited or it may be very broad. That authority may take effect as soon as the Principal executes the Power of Attorney or only when the Principal is no longer competent. Some Powers of Attorney are just the opposite – they are no longer effective once the principal loses competence.

As you can see, the provisions in a Power of Attorney can vary greatly. What may be an appropriate Power of Attorney for one person may not be appropriate for another person.  An appropriate Power of Attorney for a person with Medicaid on the horizon typically will include special provisions not included in other Powers of Attorney.

Preparation of a Power of Attorney should not be taken lightly. It is important that your Attorney provide you with the Power of Attorney that will meet your needs. A standard form from a book, with no discussion, may not be in your best interest.

            The attorneys at Mulder & Freedman have prepared in excess of a thousand Powers of Attorney. For assistance with preparation of a Power of Attorney that will meet your needs call Mulder & Freedman at (713) 721-5657.