When it comes to legal jargon and documents, many of us glean what we know from either internet searches or a few key statements we hear from popular culture. Because some misconceptions and beliefs are so widespread, gaining power of attorney can be done at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons simply because one or more parties were misinformed. We have come up with a few myths and facts that you need to be aware of when it comes to powers of attorney.
Myth: A power of attorney must be an actual attorney.
Fact: Power of attorney can be given to any trusted adult.
While many times power of attorney is given to someone who is involved with other areas of your estate, such as the executor of your will, power of attorney can be given to anyone you trust to make decisions for you.
Myth: A person must be mentally unstable before you can invoke power of attorney.
Fact: Any individual needs to be mentally sound before signing any legal documents, including power of attorney.
Just like you can’t expect someone to hand over their will without being of sound mind, you can’t ask someone who is mentally unstable to sign a power of attorney.
Myth: Power of attorney gives you unlimited decision-making power.
Fact: Power of attorney can be all-encompassing or limited.
Just like with any legal document, when drafted, you can add exceptions, exclusions, or other clauses that best suit your needs.
Myth: Power of attorney lasts after death.
Fact: Power of attorney is terminated at death.
Having power of attorney does not mean you have a say or right to the estate or will.
If you would like help deciphering, drafting or interpreting power of attorney documents, contact us at the Law Office of Melissa Stewart, formerly Groff Law Firm.