What is Power of Attorney and Why is it Important?

A power of attorney is a written legal authorization that gives one party to act on behalf of another. This authorization typically involves two individuals. The person who is authorizing the power of attorney is called principle or grantor. The person who has been given the power is called the agent.  The power of attorney process specifically allows the agent the ability to make all types of legal decisions on behalf of the grantor. These decisions could be purchasing or selling property, operating a business, medical decisions and many other situations.

This legal process can be both beneficial and a real source for risk for the grantor of the power of attorney. On the one hand the grantor can be assured that their affairs both in personal, financial, real estate and perhaps business holdings will be looked after. However, this power can often be abused or neglected by the agent. This rightfully causes concern by those people who care for the grantor and how the power is being utilized.

There are several types of power of attorney that can be implemented for an individual. It could be a health care authorization allowing a spouse to ensure their partner is getting the best care they need. Or it could be a durable power of attorney which allows the agent to invoke their power when the grantor becomes unable to make decisions on their own accord. These types of power of attorney can be more encompassing in personal affairs and the estate of the grantor.

Ensuring that you have a power of attorney in place is a wise decision for everyone. It provides some protection to your affairs and health care in the event that you cannot make sound decisions for yourself due to mental illness, physical injury, or terminal sickness.

Because it is critical that you have someone that can serve as a power of attorney then it is just as important to select the right one. It makes sense to find someone in your life that truly cares for you, has your best interest in mind, is not compromised by greed, and that you have unequivocal trust of. It is also good to ensure that your legal team is aware of who the agent is and can provide guidance and support to ensure your estate remains the way that you wish.

At Andrews and Arbenz we are committed to helping our clients in their estate planning and helping craft sound power of attorney agreements. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience on how to help you prepare your affairs and identify the best agent for your estate. We are a Tacoma attorney firm that will put your needs first so that you can feel confident in your legal process in the event you need to turn to a power of attorney.