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Make sure you choose the right power of attorney if you need one.
(Photo credit: U.S. Army)

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By Daniel A. Lauretano, Sr.

Head of Customer Service and Policies

Pfc. Owen N. Green

Legal Assistant, Customer Service & Policies Department

WIESBADEN, Germany – Life is great. You saved up for your dream car and started planning your marriage to your high school sweetheart. All of a sudden, you receive deployment orders. They panic: “Am I ready for action? Who will take care of my affairs during my absence? What legal documents should I prepare before making them available? “

In this panic you will find a solution, a solution to all foreseeable problems, one both simple and blindly simple. You ignite yourself with an ingenious solution and pat yourself on the shoulder with two big blows. “I get a general power of attorney!” You leave a GPOA with your friend and he agrees to pay your bills and manage your bank account.

Propose six months and you come home from your job when you spot a new car in your driveway. You were hoping everything would turn out the way you left it, but there is one small difference: your friend has a new car. With the GPOA you gave him, he was able to write a check from your checking account to make a down payment to buy a new car. You don’t like that and you are now in debt. You think quickly and decide to go to the legal counseling center for help.

A power of attorney is a written instrument that you can use to authorize your agent to do certain business on your behalf. It’s one of the strongest legal documents you can give to another person. There are two types of POAs; “General” and “special”, also referred to as “limited”.

A general power of attorney gives your agent very extensive powers to act on your behalf. A special power of attorney limits the authority of your representative to act only in certain matters. Any action taken by your representative under the authority of the POA is legally binding on you. Because a POA is such a meaningful document, only give it to someone you trust and only if absolutely necessary.

A GPOA gives your agent the authority to do most of the things you could do by yourself, such as writing checks and paying bills, borrowing money, and signing contracts on your behalf. Your agent cannot perform certain actions that require your personal attention, such as: B. take an oath. General POAs must not be accepted for the performance of certain acts, such as opening and closing accounts or conducting real estate transactions. The dangers of a GPOA may not be obvious at first glance, but they are real.

The SPOA limits the powers and confers a specific right or authority to an individual to act on your behalf for that limited purpose only.

There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which POA to use. First, the decision to give someone a POA is yours alone. Second, determine why you really need an SPOA and select an SPOA that defines those specific authorities. Third, you should always avoid a GPOA whenever possible.

Finally, remember that certain companies (banks and other financial institutions) only accept special authorization with specific instructions and requirements, and some companies have their own POAs that you can use.

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