Power of Attorney (POA):
This Power of Attorney refers only to powers over finances. A power of attorney is a document, signed voluntarily by a competent adult (the principal) authorizing another person (the attorney-in-fact) to act on behalf of the principal. An attorney should be involved in the development and execution of such a document.
A power of attorney can be a general document used for all authorized transactions and affairs related to property owned by the principal. It can also be as limited as a card signed at one bank, which only covers transactions at that bank. In addition to being detailed about what authority is and is not given, the document should also specify how long it lasts.
A power of attorney is revocable by a competent principal at any time; the revocation must be in writing, and any third party who might be relying on the Power of Attorney should be given notice of the revocation. Once a person is incapacitated, the Durable Power of Attorney cannot be terminated (unless it includes a time limit), except if terminated by a guardian or conservator.
Authority to exercise the Power of Attorney can be continued after the principal becomes incapacitated if special language is included in the document. This is called a Durable Power of Attorney. Be careful not to confuse this with the Health Care Directive (which is sometimes referred to as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care).
The drawback of a power of attorney is that a court does not supervise it and there are no requirements of surety, bonds, or an annual accounting, and therefore could pose significant risk to the principal. The principal could be extremely vulnerable to the theft of funds by the attorney-in-fact; therefore, this should only be used when the attorney-in-fact is trustworthy of such a responsibility.
However, if carefully drafted by an attorney who has a good understanding of the principal’s needs and wishes, a power of attorney can be set up to include many safeguards.
Note: There are GAC101 State ENG Rev 08/13 www.mncourts.gov/forms Page 9 of 63
statutory provisions which allow the principal to ask for an accounting at any time, and at execution of the document, it could be required that regular accountings be rendered to some designated individual.
Giving a Power of Attorney