A power of attorney, a legal document signed by the principal giving another the authority to carry out tasks on his behalf, is designed to protect the principal’s interests. The person receiving authority should be a responsible person.
The most common types are durable general, limited or specific, and healthcare. Any of these can be executed between a husband and a wife.
A power of attorney must be signed by or at the direction of a mentally competent person, over the age of 18, in the presence of two witnesses and a Notary Public.
Durable General Power of Attorney
This gives the agent the power to do anything the principal can do, except signing a last will and testament or living will.
Specific or Limited Power of Attorney
This is used for a specific act or for a limited time period, such as in real-estate transactions. The appointment is terminated after a stated time period—usually 30 days.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Signed by the principal, this appoints an agent or attorney-in-fact to make healthcare decisions for the principal in case he is unable to voice his wishes due to mental or physical inability.
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