Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which a person can authorize any other specific person to act on his behalf and to make decisions for him if he in incapacitated to do so. Power of Attorney can either be general i.e. the person holding the Power of Attorney will be able to take decisions on all aspects of life on behalf of the Principal who gave him the power; or it can be specific i.e. Power of Attorney for only a specific task or only for a specified period.
What powers does a Power of Attorney confer?
The person holding the general Power of Attorney is free to take all decisions on behalf of the Principal, provided that no decision has an intentionally adverse effect on the Principal. Some examples of the kind of decisions taken by an attorney-in-fact are:
- Business-related decisions such as those involving investment matters or other financial matters.
- Decisions regarding the health care of the Principal if the Principal is completely incapacitated. This also includes signing any consent forms for any medical procedures which may involve risk.
- Recommending a guardian for the Principal, if required.
Who can be given the Power of Attorney?
Since an attorney-at-fact has the almost ultimate power to make decisions for the Principal, one should always choose someone extremely trustworthy to give the Power of Attorney to. A close relative, such as spouse, son, daughter or parent are the best choices for Power of Attorney. However, irrespective of who you choose, you should always set out certain restrictive clauses in the Power of Attorney deed.