What is a power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2019 | Estate Planning

Simply put, a power of attorney (POA) is a document that gives someone legal authority to act on your behalf. This arrangement can be beneficial for many reasons, especially later in life. You can choose a person you trust with the responsibility to make decisions for you in case a tragic accident or serious health issue were to develop suddenly. If you had not given anyone power over your affairs the court may appoint someone you disapprove of.

If you are married, you may think your spouse will automatically be able to make decisions on your behalf. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. They will need to request authorization from the court system to manage belongings and financial assets that are in your name. This makes it important that you legally give them the power to do so.

Durability is key

Not every power of attorney is the same in Minnesota. Choosing the correct one for your situation is essential. If your goal is to let someone make decisions for you due to medical issues or an accident, you’ll need a durable power of attorney. This type of POA stays in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. A non-durable power of attorney becomes void upon your inability to act on your own behalf. Durable POAs can also be created to only go into effect if you’ve become incapacitated.

The next step is to settle on who you would like to take care of your affairs, should you need their assistance. This role often falls to family members but could also go to close friend. Because they may end up with a great deal of control over your life, it’s crucial to choose someone you trust completely to act in your best interest.