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What is a Power of Attorney?

Are you considering getting a Power of Attorney but you’re not sure what it can do? A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints another person to represent you. As the person who signs the Power of Attorney, you are called the “principle” and the person who you decide to represent you is referred to as the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent.”

Why would you want a Power of Attorney? You can use it to authorize someone else to handle a specific task for you, such as buy a house for you while you’re out of the country, withdraw money from your bank account, sign mortgage loan documents, or apply for Supplemental Security or Medi-Cal benefits on your behalf.

Often, people use Powers of Attorney when they’re out of town or when they’re incapacitated due to an injury, illness, or disability that makes them incapable of handling specific task, especially those that are financially-related.

What a Power of Attorney Can Do

There are many things a Power of Attorney can do. It can have your agent:

  • Deposit or withdraw money from your bank accounts
  • Pay your bills
  • Sign contracts on your behalf
  • File your state and federal tax returns
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Sign legal contracts
  • Apply for certain types of benefits
  • Pay your monthly bills
  • Handle real estate transactions
  • Trade stocks and bonds
  • Arrange to have retirement benefits distributed

A Power of Attorney can do a lot, but it can’t do everything. It can’t write or change a will, but it can establish a trust. And it cannot let your agent use your assets unless you specifically make a gift to him or her.

A Power of Attorney goes into effect when you decide it does, for example, it can go into effect immediately or when you’re no longer able to make financial decisions. It can end on a certain date or when a specific task is completed, or it can last until you cancel it or until you pass away.

To learn more about establishing a Power of Attorney, we invite you to contact Nguyen Law Group at (909) 328-6280.