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Common Misconceptions About Power of Attorney

Did you know that just over half of adults have a power of attorney in place? A recent survey found that while 83% of people over the age of 72 have a power of attorney, only 41% of millennials have one.

A power of attorney and other estate planning documents, such as a living trust, allow people you trust to care for and make decisions for you, which can be essential, especially as you get older. 

Still, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding what can and cannot be done by and through a power of attorney. Keep reading to find out the most common misconceptions about power of attorney. 

Common Misconceptions About Power of Attorney

When you’re writing your will or doing your estate planning, you might come across a power of attorney. 

Power of attorney entitles someone to make legal decisions on your behalf. This means that they can manage your financial affairs if you’re unable to do so due to ill health. There are many reasons why you should assign power of attorney to someone you trust. 

Power of attorney is a topic that many people don’t fully understand. As such, there are many misconceptions surrounding the laws of the power of attorney document.

  1. The Agent Can Do What They Please With Your Estate and Assets

One common misconception that many people believe is that a power of attorney allows the agent to do whatever they want with your estate and assets. Agents you appoint as your attorney are obligated by law to make financial decisions that are in your best interest.

However, finding someone you trust to look after your estate and assets might be more complicated than you might think. According to a survey, 43% of Americans over 55 are worried that they lack an advocate to look out for their best interests towards the end of their life. The critical thing is to find someone you trust and to do thorough research into which type of power of attorney you want to grant your agent. 

  1. Using a Power of Attorney Document You Find Online Is Fine

The internet is filled with useful resources when it comes to researching power of attorney and which type is right for your circumstances, for example, if you should choose a durable power of attorney or general power of attorney. However, it’s recommended that you don’t use a document you find online. Online documents might not contain all the important details your unique circumstances require.

In answer to the question, do you need a lawyer to get a power of attorney? Yes, you do. A lawyer will be able to include all the up-to-date requirements of your state and ensure that they are relevant to your circumstances.

  1. There’s One Type of Power of Attorney

Many people believe that there’s only one type of document when it comes to power of attorney. But this is very wrong. The document will take into consideration the powers given to the agent based on the circumstances of the person appointed. 

There are three main types of power of attorney: general power, limited power, and durable power. All provide different options when it comes to taking care of the financial interests of the person.

Prepare for the Future and Get Your Affairs in Order

Nobody knows what the future holds, but there are specific ways you can prepare for it. Appointing an agent and creating a power of attorney document is an excellent way to ensure your financial assets and estate are looked after in the event that you’re unable to look after them yourself.

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