Powers of Attorney in Rochester Hills
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With over 40 years of combined experience, our attorneys at Little & Boylan PLLC have the breadth of knowledge and skill to represent you in your legal matters. Especially when you seek to pursue something as important as a power of attorney, you should put a professional on your side. To learn more about powers of attorney in Michigan and how an attorney might help, consult our firm at Little & Boylan PLLC.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that allows an individual to give someone else (called an agent) the authority to manage their financial affairs. An agent can be any adult or a bank that the person trusts. More than one agent can be named to act at the same time, but the person must specify whether the agents will act separately or as one. An agent can:
- sign the individual’s checks;
- make deposits for them;
- pay their bills;
- contract for medical or other professional services;
- sell their property;
- get insurance for them;
- manage their everyday affairs.
A person can give their agent authority to do anything they could do, or they can limit the agent's authority to only certain things, such as homeownership matters. The agent must follow all of the person’s instructions and act in their best interest. The agent will appropriately keep receipts and accurate records about relevant assets and note the actions done on the individual’s behalf if they seek to be informed.
Note that a power of attorney is either durable or non-durable. A durable power of attorney remains in effect when a person is unable to make their own financial decisions (they are no longer competent). On the other hand, a non-durable power of attorney terminates the moment the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated. However, note that with both durable and non-durable powers of attorney, the agency relationship is not revoked or terminated until the attorney-in-fact has actual knowledge of the principal’s death.
A durable power may express an individual’s intent to make the power of attorney effective immediately or upon the person’s disability or incapacity. Note that individuals should also explain in the document how they would like their disability or incapacity determined.
A person can cancel or revoke a durable power of attorney, but only when they are able (competent). The individual must sign a written document that says the durable power of attorney is revoked and deliver the signed document to their agent and to anyone with whom their agent is dealing.
Types of Powers
Powers of attorney can be general or limited. A general power of attorney (sometimes called a “common law power of attorney”) authorizes the attorney-in-fact to take any action on behalf of the principal with regard to all of the principal’s affairs, such as buying and selling personal property; buying, selling, or managing real estate; handling financial transactions; entering into contracts; and settling claims, among other things. Note that even if a power of attorney states that the principal is granting broad authority to act, it is best to specifically describe in the document the common types of transactions that will fall within the scope of general authority. Be aware that a general power of attorney is not durable automatically and will terminate upon the disability or incapacity of the principal unless it includes the necessary language to make it durable.
A specific, limited, or restricted power of attorney authorizes the attorney-in-fact to take action on behalf of the principal only on specific matters or for limited purposes. This type of power may include other restrictions on the attorney-in-fact’s ability to act, such as a certain period of time it will be effective. Limited powers of attorney are routinely granted for the management of the principal’s financial affairs or accounts and can also be exclusively for buying, selling, or transferring land. It is important to consider acknowledgment and recordation requirements (i.e., specific requirements regarding how the power of attorney must be executed and how it may be recorded with the register of deeds) if individuals are considering a power of attorney that involves these land-related powers.
Let Little & Boylan PLLC Represent You!
If you are interested in pursuing a power of attorney document in Rochester Hills, MI, contact our attorneys at Little & Boylan PLLC. The responsibilities of an agent in such a document are very important and should be handled by a professional.