due_logo
Search
Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Power of Attorney



Definition

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives one or more persons (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on behalf of another person (the principal). This authority can include managing financial or personal affairs, making medical decisions, or conducting business transactions. The extent of this authority can be broad or specific, as determined by the principal.

Phonetic

The phonetics for the keyword “Power of Attorney” are:Power: /ˈpaʊər/of: /əv/ , /ɑːv/, /ʌv/Attorney: /əˈtɜːrni/

Key Takeaways

  1. Authority to Act on Behalf: A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that provides one individual (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on behalf of another (the principal). The agent can have broad legal authority or limited authority to make decisions about the principal’s property, finances, or medical care.
  2. Types of Power of Attorney: There are different types of POA. Durable Power of Attorney remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. Non-Durable Power of Attorney, on the other hand, becomes ineffective if the principal becomes incapacitated. Springing Power of Attorney only becomes effective under certain circumstances, typically when the principal becomes incapacitated.
  3. Mind the Laws: The laws governing Power of Attorney can vary by country and state. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with those laws to ensure that the POA is created correctly, and it serves its intended purpose. Some jurisdictions require the POA to be notarized or witnessed, while others have specific rules regarding the principal’s mental capacity.

Importance

The Power of Attorney (POA) is a crucial business/finance term as it refers to a legal document that permits an individual, often referred to as the ‘agent’ or ‘attorney-in-fact’ , to act on behalf of another person, known as the ‘principal’. This is important as it allows for managing various aspects of the principal’s life when they are unable or unavailable to do so themselves. It can cover a broad range of activities including financial transactions, business decisions, and even personal matters. This provides a practical solution for handling affairs during periods of absence, incapacitation or even personal convenience. Hence, POA plays an integral role in ensuring proper and authorized decision-making in business and personal finance situations.

Explanation

The purpose of a Power of Attorney (POA) in finance and business stretches beyond just a mere legal definition. Essentially, it serves as a valuable tool for ensuring that one’s financial and business affairs are prudently managed when they are incapable, either physically or mentally, to do so themselves. Situations where a POA might be required could include where the person is incapacitated, traveling abroad for an extended period, or has simply opted to delegate certain responsibilities to someone more equipped to handle them. The person to whom authority has been granted (known as the “attorney-in-fact” or the “agent”) can engage in transactions, make decisions, and represent the grantor’s business interests as if they were the grantor themselves.With a POA, a business person or investor can delegate critical duties such as handling financial transactions, managing investments, or running business operations. For instance, an entrepreneur preparing for a lengthy international business trip could authorize a trusted associate to manage their daily business operations during their absence. Overall, a POA empowers individuals to ensure their finance or business continues to run smoothly even in their unavailability, and it allows them to nominate someone they trust to protect their assets and make the best decisions on their behalf. Therefore, a POA is more about confidence delegation, safeguarding interests, and contingency planning more than it is about legal procedure.

Examples

1. Elderly Care: An elderly individual might designate one of their offspring as their Power of Attorney (POA). This grants the child the authority to make financial decisions on the elderly person’s behalf should they become incapacitated or unable to manage their own affairs. This could cover actions such as managing bank accounts, handling real estate transactions, or making investment decisions.2. Business Operations: Within a business context, a CEO might grant a Power of Attorney to a Vice President or Chief Financial Officer. This would give that executive the legal capability to sign contracts, perform transactions, or make other high-level financial choices in the absence of the CEO. It allows for continuity and effective running of the organization even when the CEO is unavailable.3. Real Estate Transactions: A property owner seeking to sell his/her property from abroad might delegate a Power of Attorney to a trusted person residing in the country where the property is located. This empowers the designated individual to negotiate, sign contracts, receive funds, and carry out any other activities necessary to facilitate the sale of the property. This saves the property owner the need to be present physically for the transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Power of Attorney in finance and business?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person (the attorney or agent) the power to act for another person (the principal) in legal, financial, or business matters.

Are there different types of Powers of Attorney?

Yes, there are several types, including General Power of Attorney, Special or Limited Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, and Healthcare or Medical Power of Attorney. The type used would depend on the specific powers the principal wants to grant.

Who can be granted as an attorney or agent in a Power of Attorney?

An attorney or agent can be any competent adult who the principal trusts. Typically, it could be a relative, friend, lawyer, or trusted advisor.

What happens if the principal becomes incapacitated?

If the principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable, it becomes void. A Durable Power of Attorney remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Can a Power of Attorney be revoked?

Yes. As long as the principal is mentally competent, they can revoke a POA at any time.

Does a Power of Attorney extend beyond the principal’s death?

No. All POAs become void upon the principal’s death.

Where can I create a Power of Attorney document?

It’s recommended to have a lawyer prepare a POA to ensure it meets all legal requirements. However, there are also online legal services providing templates for these documents.

How legally binding is a Power of Attorney?

A POA is a legally binding document as long as it meets all the necessary legal requirements, including that the principal was of sound mind when they signed it.

Can the attorney or agent use the Power of Attorney to act in their own interest?

No, the attorney or agent is legally bound to act in the best interest of the principal. Any misuse of the POA can lead to legal consequences.

Who should have a copy of the Power of Attorney?

Ideally, the principal, the attorney or agent, and any other relevant parties such as a financial institution or healthcare provider should have copies of the POA.

Related Finance Terms

  • Principal
  • Agent
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Non-durable Power of Attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney

Sources for More Information


About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More