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.
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.
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.