How to Set up a Power of Attorney

By David M. Murray, Jr.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to appoint another to act in his place when, for example, age or illness renders acting on one's own behalf increasingly difficult if not impossible. Conducting banking business and bill paying are areas where a power of attorney can be particularly helpful to an individual. A power of attorney can be set up so that it has a very limited scope, or it can contain broad powers and even survive the grantor's incapacity. A power of attorney is set up in writing and signed before a notary public.

Find a close friend or a family member whom you trust implicitly if it is your desire to set up a power of attorney and to have someone act in your place and stead, as circumstances dictate.

Decide upon the scope of the power you wish to grant to the close friend or family member. Is the power for merely a specific purpose, or any general purpose? Is it a durable power of attorney, does it survive incapacity?

Get the form drafted by an attorney's office, or find the particular power of attorney form you need online or in a store.

Sign the power of attorney form in front of a notary public. Caveat: One must be of sound mind at the time the document is executed.

Give the person to whom you have granted the power of ttorney an original of the executed form so that he can act in your place and stead as circumstances dictate.