Powers-of-attorney may be given to a spouse, adult child, or other family member, to a friend or professional advisor, or to an officer of a financial institution, nursing home or other organization. A general power-of-attorney is a document giving another person the authority to do essentially anything that the individual signing the power can presently do or could not do if the individual becomes incapacitated. The person granting the power must be a mentally competent adult at the time the document is signed; however, unless provided otherwise in the document, once the power is granted, it continues after any physical or mental incapacity until revoked or until the death of the person. A power-of -attorney can also be limited as to a specific transaction, the type of power being granted, and its duration.
A power-of-attorney is distinguished from guardianship. A guardian is appointed by the Court to oversee the person or property of an individual who is mentally or physically incapacitated. This may become necessary if a person requires such supervision or assistance, but did not sign a power-of-attorney prior to the onset of the disability. I power-of-attorney is a much more time and cost efficient means to this end.
If you do not have a power-of-attorney, you should consult an attorney to prepare one for you. This can be done quickly and should be relatively inexpensive. If you do not have an attorney and have questions about this topic or other legal concerns, please contact me at your convenience