Any adult can create a General Power of Attorney and specify what an agent can execute on their behalf.
For example, suppose you have trustworthy business partners or family members. In that case, you can entrust them with a General Power of Attorney to share the burden of decision-making rather than doing everything on your own.
In some cases, that can be a parent granting a child this right or a business owner who can't be everything and everywhere at the same time.
A General Power of Attorney is a non-durable power of attorney. Like any power of attorney, you use it to give another person the right to make decisions on your behalf.
In the case of a General POA, it's mostly for making business, financial, and asset management decisions. The document's non-durable nature means the agent's role ceases should the principal become incapacitated or deceased.
Choosing your agent or, also known as the attorney-in-fact, is a significant decision for any person. It is also relevant to know you can replace or revoke the agent at any time and for any reason.
Depending on your state, a General Power of Attorney may also be known as:
Letter of Attorney
Conventional Power of Attorney
There are many instances when a person might require a General Power of Attorney. For some, this is a document they prepare as soon as they turn 18 years old.
Older parents may also use a General Power of Attorney to allow their living children to manage their properties or sign documents, in effect, taking the burden off them.
However, in most cases, you use a General Power of Attorney to have someone else make financial or business transactions on your behalf. Things like buying life insurance, distributing gifts, and even employing and firing people, can be assigned to an agent.
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A General Power of Attorney is a document that gives another person a lot of freedom to act in your best interests, so why not make sure everything is in order?
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To create your document, please provide:
Principal's Personal Information: Name, address, social security number, and any other relevant personal information.
Agent's Personal Information: Name, address, social security number, and additional relevant information.
Expiration Date: If not specified, the agent's power expires upon the principal's incapacity or death.
Explanation of Powers: Detail and limit the power to be granted.
State: Which state's laws would govern the agreement.
Principal: The person who is giving another person (an agent) the POA to act on their behalf.
Agent: The person who receives the POA to act on behalf of the principal.
Fiduciary: Someone who must act in another entity or person's best interests.
Limited Power of Attorney: A POA that limits the agent's scope of power.
Springing Power of Attorney: Also known as a Conditional Power of Attorney, this becomes valid only when certain events come to fruition.
As a rule, a General Power of Attorney only has to be signed by the principal and witnessed by a witness or the notary public who will notarize the document. However, some states may also require the agent to sign certain types of power of attorney.
With your General Power of Attorney signed and notarized, both the principal and the agent should keep for the record a notarized copy of the POA. It's only displayed when necessary, mostly on the agent carrying out his or her agency.
Once again, in certain states, you might have to file certain types of power of attorney with a court. They generally don't have to be filed with the country registry.
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