When you hear the words ‘power of attorney,’ you might assume they hold significant weight from a legal standpoint. And you’d be right. The two most basic types of types of power of attorney are general power of attorney and limited power of attorney. So, just what exactly are these powers of attorney and how do they work?
To keep a board game running while one player takes a break, that player could say to another ‘roll the dice and move for me.’ They are granting the second player power to act fully within the game rules. This is basically what general power of attorney means in the rules of the legal system – authorization for one person to act legally on behalf of another person.
If the player says ‘roll but don’t move’, that would be called limited power; limited legal power-of-attorney might cover only healthcare decisions, or only property decisions. While some legal jurisdictions accept spoken power-of-attorney decisions like this game-play example, other jurisdictions, or institutions like banks or hospitals, frequently require written or even notarized documents. The person granting this power must have the mental capacity to understand their decision.
In a nutshell, power of attorney is essentially the power you give to your attorney to handle your legal affairs, which means that you’re trusting in your attorney to do what’s best for you depending on the legal situation at hand. That’s a pretty significant decision, but one that is often required to navigate the tricky waters of the legal system.
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In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Beware of Unlicensed Title Agents