What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that specifies one or more persons who have authority over some aspect(s) of your financial affairs if you are unable to take care of yourself and make decisions regarding those aspects yourself. The two types of Lasting Powers of Attorneys are a General Power of Attorney and a Property Power of Attorney.
An attorney-in-fact (power of attorney holder) can do anything on your behalf that you could do yourself, except managing property or acting as an executor for your will. For example, they may pay bills, open new bank accounts in their name, sell investments owned by both people, and borrow money from those investment proceeds.
Your power of attorney does not need to know what you want to do with the account balance after it is paid off unless this was specified before granting them access to manage these financial decisions on your behalf. It’s also possible for one person to act as a power of attorney for another person.
A general power of attorney (GPO) is the most common form. It covers any responsibilities that you may not want to delegate to your property or the financial power of attorneys. In this attorney document, you appoint an agent who has full authority over all three areas: finances, managing real estate, executing your will if necessary.
You can sign off on specific tasks with a limited-purpose POA—for example, giving someone access only to make medical decisions or health care decisions on your behalf without granting them control over other aspects of your life as well. Legal experts recommend against doing so because it limits their ability to help manage emergencies, like when there’s been a sudden hospitalization where they have no idea what’s going on.
Two Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney can be divided into Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare.
Property & Financial Affairs
What Can You Do as an Attorney?
A person who has been granted this type of POA will have total control over all aspects of a person’s life regarding property and financial affairs.
This can include the ability to sell or keep any assets they own, buy houses on behalf of someone else, as well as handle their tax returns.
On the other hand,
The LPAC is often used in cases where a loved one would be at risk if he/she had complete responsibility for his/her finance, such as dementia1 or Alzheimer’s disease2 – because it means that no decisions about money need ever be made anyone other than the agent. It can also come into play when someone becomes incapacitated due to mental illness, addiction issues or other debilitating health problems.
What Can You Do as an Attorney?
As an LPA: Property and Financial affairs, your legal authority is limited to managing the subset of tasks related to
- Buying and selling property on behalf of someone else;
- Handling tax returns for their principal, typically a minor child or older adult who cannot do it themselves.
You can’t make any decisions about money without consulting your client first. Additionally, you must be very careful not to spend too much money – an attorney has no power over what assets are used, only how they are paid (within his/her limit). There is also some debate about whether attorneys should buy items like food or medicines for persons represented by them unless they have express permission from that individual.
Finally, an LPA does not give the agent the authority to sign a form of power of attorney, which is needed if the lawyer wants to authorize another individual to make decisions for him/her.
Health and Welfare
This type of POA is typically used when an individual cannot make decisions about the person’s health or welfare. It can be given for a specific period with limits on what sort of care must be provided. It may include provisions that require notification if the client becomes incapacitated.
But wait, let me tell you something
A lawyer acting as an attorney under this type of POA has no authority over money matters unless related to one’s health (for example, housing). This means attorneys cannot buy food or medicine without express permission from their clients- but there is some debate surrounding whether lawyers should provide these items in emergencies.
What Can You Do as an Attorney?
Under a general POA, attorneys have the authority to make decisions about their client’s health and welfare. This includes such things as signing a consent form for surgery or authorizing treatment in an emergency room.
Generally speaking, lawyers cannot act on behalf of clients regarding finances- unless they are explicitly related to health matters (such as housing). They do not have original power over any financial transactions without express permission from their clients. The debate is whether lawyers should provide these items in emergencies situations even if the client did not explicitly permit them.
What Can’t You Do as an Attorney?
As an LPA: Health and Welfare, you can’t do the following:
- take on any financial matters, including handling assets or signing checks.
- handle legal transactions such as contracts and property deeds without express written permission from your client.
Lawyers cannot decide about their clients’ finances unless explicitly related to health issues; they can’t handle any financial transactions without express permission from their clients. The debate is whether lawyers should provide these items in emergencies situations even if the client did not grant them explicit permission beforehand.
Your LPA Consultation
- You have to submit all relevant information for your LPA Consultation.
- The lawyer will then review the documents and determine if they are suitable or not.
The attorney may require you to sign a retainer agreement before proceeding further with the consultation process.
What Are the Limits of a Power of Attorney?
An attorney cannot make decisions that would change the property title, liquidate assets (unless they act as conservatives), incur debt obligations or enter into contracts without specific authorization from their clients.
Can a Power of Attorney Transfer Property to Themselves?
No. They can’t do that without specific authorization from their client.
May a Power of Attorney Avoid the Need for Guardianship?
No. A power of attorney isn’t a substitute for guardianship or conservatorship. It cannot avoid the need to appoint a guardian or conservator if their client becomes incapacitated.
Do Powers of Attorney Cover Digital Assets?
A power of attorney does not cover digital assets unless they are specified in the document.
In a nutshell,
A lawyer can be appointed as an agent or attorney-in-fact for a client to act on their behalf under Power of Attorney agreements. There are special rules they should follow.
The responsibilities vary depending upon what type of durable power you have delegated. Still, generally, speaking attorneys cannot make any decisions that would change the property title, liquidate assets (unless they are acting as Conservators), incur debt obligations, or enter into contracts without specific authorization from their clients.