Know This Rule Before You Grant Power of Attorney
We hear the phrase “power of attorney” a lot in our lives. Maybe we have direct experience with it, or maybe we’ve heard it on television or in the movies. But whatever your understanding of power of attorney, it’s important that you do not take the phrase lightly. That’s because power of attorney is one of your most basic legal powers – and signing it over to someone else can be a life-changing decision.
For some people, it’s the right decision; having someone else handle their legal matters actually works to their advantage, particularly for the elderly or infirmed. But power of attorney can apply to a lot of different situations – and they don’t always mean you should simply sign yours away.
So what do you need to know? What’s the rule you’ll want to follow to ensure that you’re keeping your power of attorney in proper perspective? Here’s the rule we recommend you keep in mind:
Know what you’re signing over before you sign over power of attorney.
Yes, we know you do a good job of handling all of your legal matters and that you’re wise when it comes to signing documents. But the power of attorney form is more powerful than you might imagine. It’s not like signing up for a cellular phone contract. Instead, it’s a form that can potentially transform the way you live your life.
Power of attorney can include such privileges as being able to sign checks and pay debts in your name. Signing up for different services in your name can also take place, which gives someone with your power of attorney a lot of power to use up all of your money if they’re not going to use your assets responsibly.
If this sounds like a scary (and unlikely) scenario, it’s best to keep in mind that it’s also entirely possible with power of attorney granted to someone else. That’s why you should keep our rule in mind.
Now, the chances that you’ve already thought about the consequences of signing over power of attorney before you sign it over to someone else are pretty good. In fact, that’s how it should be. You should also have discussed the power of attorney with someone else – the person who’s going to be recipient of this power.
But because one basic perusal of a power of attorney form will show you exactly how much of an impact it can have on your life, it’s important to repeat this rule. After all, there are those who might take the power of attorney too lightly, and for that reason this rule bears repeating.
If you want to learn more about power of attorney, be sure that you also concern yourself with your country’s laws – and even the individual provincial or state laws that might pertain to your specific situation. A quick Google search of power of attorney isn’t enough; you need to know exactly what it means – and therefore what it potentially means for your life.