A Power of Attorney ("POA") is a document by which one person (the “principal”) appoints another as agent and allows the agent in certain circumstances as specified in the document to act for the principal. The agent is also known as the “attorney-in-fact,” not to be confused with an “attorney at law” who is a person licensed to practice law.

 A General Durable Power of attorney (“General POA”). The General POA authorizes  the individual you select (called your “Agent” or “Attorney in Fact”) to make decisions and act on your behalf in all matters concerning your property and finances and basically allows him/her to do anything you could legally do. Unlike the POA for Health Care and the Advance Directive, this Power of Attorney becomes effective at the time it is executed.  The POA is “Durable,” meaning it will not be terminated if you become incapacitated. It will continue until your death, unless you revoke it. 

Power of Attorneys can be useful for allowing a family member or another individual whom you trust to handle matters which you are unable to handle, such as when a spouse take an extended trip and needs the other spouse to sign documents or draft checks. This is often a useful tool for someone caring for an elderly individual who handles paying utility bills and other needs for which the elderly individual is unable to tend to on a routine basis.