A power of attorney is a legal instrument capable of granting a great deal of power from one individual to another. At times, however, there is confusion over how a power of attorney is used. For example, there are misconceptions about whether a power of attorney grants authority to change a will.
There two general functions of powers of attorney. First, there are powers of attorney designed to deal with financial matters. Second, there are powers of attorney that function for medical decision-making in certain situations.
There are two types of powers of attorney. A traditional power of attorney ceases to be effective is the person who executed the document becomes incapacitated. A durable power attorney remains in effect despite any incapacitation.
Although a power of attorney allows an agent significant authority, a power of attorney cannot be used to change a will.
Because a power of attorney does not provide authority to change a will, the person writing a will needs to ensure that he/she makes desired adjustments to the document while he/she has the appropriate mental capacity.
In selecting an agent for a power of attorney, ensuring that the individual chosen is not only competent but also trustworthy is crucial.