Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives a person the legal authority to act on behalf of another person. This authority may be limited and specific or general regarding such other person’s medical care, financial, property, or legal matters, etc.
Principal is the person authorizing someone else to act on their behalf. This can either be an individual or a company.
Agent is the person who is authorized by the principal to act on their behalf. This can also be an individual or a company.
Essentials of a POA
Identification of parties
The POA should clearly specify the name, age, address, and occupation of the principal and also the agent’s legal name and other identifying details, if required. It is always wise to assign a POA to someone trusted.
Reasons for granting POA
It should include a legal and valid reason for granting the POA like the inability of the principal to personally take care of the relevant matters.
Period of validity
It should clearly mention the date of termination of the POA. If it is not limited by time then specify whether it is durable i.e., it remains in effect if you become incapacitated due to illness, an accident, or any other reason or non-durable i.e., it ends on a particular date or with the completion of a specified task or transaction.
Scope of POA
It should specify whether it is a general POA or a specific POA. In either case, it should explicitly enlist all actions that may be undertaken by the agent on behalf of the principal.
It should include details of specific restrictions to be imposed on the agent, if any. For example, in the case of a general POA for all property matters, the POA might allow the agent to make all decisions regarding the principal’s property but bar him from selling or disposing of the property.
Are you one of these?
- A person or company who needs someone else to carry out any work on your behalf
- A person or company acting on behalf of someone else
Do you relate to any of these statements?
- As a principal wishes to assign specific responsibilities on the agent
- As a principal wishes to ensure that the agent doesn’t do anything beyond your requirements
- As an agent has been assigned multiple responsibilities
- Wants to protect themselves from future loss or liability
Then you definitely need a customized Power of Attorney and not just a standard template.
Why do you need a POA?
- The assistance of an expert
POA helps you take the help of trusted experts for any matter where you might not be comfortable or qualified enough. Eg: it lets you take the assistance of a lawyer for all legal matters.
- Completion of work
Irrespective of your health, availability, or capacity to work, with the help of a well-drafted POA you can ensure that your specified matters are duly taken care of by the agent.
- Protection from wrongful acts of the agent
A POA clearly lays down the scope of the agent’s authority and restrictions imposed, if any. This means that the agent cannot act beyond the scope of authority as defined by you, without facing legal and financial repercussions.
You know your responsibilities and duties clearly. This means that you can carry out your work smoothly, without having to worry about future legal or financial complications.
- Protection from exploitation
Since your scope of work is well-defined by the POA, the principal can’t demand additional work from you.
- Protection from liability
As long as you work within the scope of POA and take reasonable care, you cannot be persecuted for any loss or liabilities. For example, if you had the authority to rent out someone’s property under the POA and despite you following due process if the tenant fails to pay the rent, you cannot be held responsible for it.
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