Powers of Attorney - Introduction

You can specify that a person or persons has the power to act in your behalf with a Power of Attorney. Unlike the Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a General Power of Attorney is deemed, in most states, to be voided at either the death or incapacity of the person making the Power of Attorney, sometimes called the Principal. Giving a person the power to act for you under a Power of Attorney will not give them the right to act on your behalf after your death, or if you ever become incapacitated.

However, while you are of sound mind or alive, you can give another adult the power to perform many legal duties for you. This is called a General Power of Attorney. Or, you can give an adult the power to act in one or more specific instances for you. This is called a Specific or Special Power of Attorney.

The powers can be detailed and expansive as set forth in the General Power of Attorney. Be careful to state exactly what acts might be performed by the person you are appointing as your agent. Also, remember that when completing these Powers of Attorney, you must consult the laws of your state to determine whether you need witnesses or a Notary Public, or in some cases, both, to attest to your signature in creating the document. Contact member services to speak to an attorney who can make sure you are following the laws of your state.

Should you decide to revoke this Power of Attorney, you can do so at any time. However, you ought to be careful for your own protection to send a copy of the Revocation to anyone with whom your agent might have been dealing at the time of the revocation. Many lawsuits have emerged when the agent ignored the Revocation and continued to act on your behalf. Your notification, preferably sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, might help to notify the party who is relying on your agent that the agent no longer has the power to act for you. If the party with whom the agent is dealing receives this Revocation and continues to act, both he/she and the agent may be liable to you for any damages which you suffered thereby. Your attorney can also help with making sure your Powers of Attorney are properly revoked.