Later in life with elderly parents needing to change their housing needs whether to downsize, move back in with family, or move to assisted living or nursing homes, family members need to assist them with their finances and selling or buying property. A Powers of Attorney form with each state governing their rules allows you to assist them. There are three main types:
- General - gives general authority, and is often too vague for Title Company purposes
- Special - authorized for very narrow authority to do a specific act. Sometimes called a specific power of attorney
- Durable - specifically states that it is not effected by the principal's subsequent disability or incapacity
All of these are written instruments whereby one person, the principal, appoints another person to be his or her agent or attorney-in-fact for some particular purpose, and further provides for the agents powers and duties. The authority may not be extended beyond that which is expressly stated or which is necessary and proper to carry out the authority given. A very helpful tool to buy and sell real estate and most settlement companies prefer the durable power of attorney.
The power of attorney authority also can be severed from the principal and you need to know how that works too, like
- expired under the terms
- revoked by principal
- death of principal, many do not realize this one but true
- if the agent is the spouse, divorce or annulment of the marriage ends it
- self dealing by agent where there is a conflict of interest, like benefit to them with the principal's property, conveying property to the agent, etc. any conflict of interest situation
Also a guardian of a person may not give a PoA to act for a principal, only a Court.
REALTORS cannot give legal advice as they are not practicing attorneys so rather than buying online PoA's it is more prudent to contact a licensed attorney in your state to draw up the proper paperwork.
There is also a "separate" Medical" Power of Attorney form should you need to make medical decisions for a loved one. An ENTIRELY different category.
Powers of Attorney powers and authority are not all that hard to implement and makes taking care of people a lot easier. Plan this ahead and you will do fine.