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Common Reasons to Create General Power of Attorney Privileges


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A general power of attorney gives broad powers to a person and lets them perform financial transactions on behalf of another individual. This legal document grants authority to agents to conduct nearly any kind of transaction that the person would normally do for their self. Establishing a general power of attorney involves two individuals, along with two witnesses and a notary public. Individuals who grant privileges are referred to as the Principal while the person receiving privileges are referred to as the attorney-in-fact or agent. The attorney-in-fact does not have to be a lawyer. In fact, this person is usually a relative or personal friend of the Principal. On the other hand, Principals can select an attorney, accountant, or estate planner to act as their agent if they desire. Considering that agents can conduct a wide variety of transactions it is imperative to carefully select an agent that can be trusted. The person designated to the position must be of legal age and capable of appropriately managing finances.

Just because a person is appointed as the attorney-in-fact does not mean they are required to perform duties. However, once they engage in tasks specified in the general power of attorney they are obligated to act as fiduciary and protect the Principal’s financial assets. Performing duties can sometimes be quite burdensome, so it is best to discuss the obligations with the chosen agent before inserting their name in the power of attorney form.

Executing a general power of attorney offers benefits to nearly everyone. If events take place that prohibit an individual from being able to engage in financial transactions related to personal finances or business, things can fall apart quickly. For instance, if a person becomes ill and isn’t able to pay their bills they could face losing their home to foreclosure or have their car repossessed.
General power of attorney lets agents take care of a wide variety of transactions. Some of the most common include: paying bills; depositing funds into bank accounts; buying, selling or trading real estate; overseeing business operations; and engaging in business-related transactions such as buying or selling business equipment or other types of assets.

If agents are authorized to oversee real estate investments they are allowed to engage in any kind of transaction the Principal would normally conduct. For example, if the Principal owns real estate investments used as rental homes and tenants fall behind in payments, agents can engage in actions to collect delinquent rent. This could include establishing a payment plan to filing for eviction through the legal system.
Principals that own a business ought to execute a general power of attorney that authorizes an agent to take over business operations. Authority can be granted to oversee all aspects of the business or to handle specific duties.

When Principals do not want to grant broad powers they can execute other types of power of attorney rights. For example, if the Principal needs to sell real estate while they are out of town, they could execute a special power of attorney form that authorizes the agent to carry out the sale. Once the transaction is completed the powers are revoked and agents cannot conduct any other type of duty.

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  • Posted On June 7, 2012
  • Published articles 5

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