Power of Attorney Letter Examples

By Louis Kroeck

A power of attorney letter is also called a power of attorney agreement or simply a power of attorney. These documents can be used for a variety of purposes but typically are used by one person to grant certain legal powers of representation to another. For example, an aging parent might sign a power of attorney giving his daughter the authority to pay his bills or make health care decisions on his behalf. A power of attorney document can take various forms, depending on the situation at hand.

Power of Attorney Defined

A power of attorney letter is a document that gives another party the legal right to take action on your behalf under certain circumstances. Some power of attorney letters only convey the power to act if the grantor is incapacitated; others grant unlimited legal power to make decisions on the grantor's behalf in financial affairs, health care, buying and selling property, signing contracts and handling matters related to government benefits.

Health Care Power of Attorney

One example of a power of attorney letter is a health care power of attorney. This type of document gives your appointee the power to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent or otherwise unable to make your own medical decisions. One decision that might be granted under a health care power of attorney is the right to direct doctors to withdraw life support if the grantor lapses into an irreversible coma.

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Special Power of Attorney

Another common power of attorney agreement is the special power of attorney. This document generally gives the grantee the right to conduct some particular business on behalf of the grantor. This type of letter might be used if the grantor expects to be out of the country and needs some transaction conducted on his behalf. A special power of attorney would specify what activities are to be performed, and it might also contain a clause stating when the power expires.

Revocation

Caution should always be exercised when using a power of attorney agreement or any legal document downloaded from the Web. Certain restrictions may apply in your state that would invalidate your power of attorney letter as a matter of law. Furthermore, granting someone power of attorney is a serious matter that requires careful consideration. It is always wise to discuss your options with a lawyer and have your legal documents professionally prepared or reviewed.

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Can You Change a Deed Anytime You Want to if You Have Power of Attorney?

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How to Determine a Misuse of Power of Attorney

There is a significant danger to an agent misusing his power of attorney because it may be hard to observe. The power of attorney grants the agent power to act in a principal’s name in the principal’s absence. This means that the agent might be able to transfer the principal’s property and enter the principal into binding agreements with minimal oversight by the principal. Powers of attorney are subject to state law, so rules may vary. However there is a general process you can follow to determine whether a power of attorney has been misused.

Power of Attorney Rights

The power of attorney doesn't so much grant rights as powers. Under a power of attorney arrangement, one person -- known as the principal -- grants an agent the power to perform legal acts on his behalf. This grant of authority may be broad or narrow, and it may be of temporary or indefinite duration. A power of attorney must be in writing and signed by the principal to be valid.

If I Have Power of Attorney, Can I Deed a House Over to My Name?

Power corrupts and absolute power can corrupt absolutely. A general power of attorney gives the agent the ability to do virtually anything with the finances of the principal. Although self-dealing is strictly forbidden in this fiduciary relationship, more than a few agents have used their authority to transfer assets to themselves. The law imposes civil and criminal penalties for such conduct.

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