Much to our disappointment, we are not actually Batman and Robin. We do not have x-ray vision, we can’t fly and we also can’t shoot webs at people to stop them in their tracks. Unfortunately, a “Power of Attorney*” has nothing to do with having super hero powers; it does, however, allow people to help you in your time of need.
Most people think about a Power of Attorney only being active when you are unable to handle matters on your own; to the contrary, it can be used when you don’t want to handle matters on your own. Think about these typical situations:
1. You have a financial account but you partner, daughter or nephew is more financially savvy than you. If you give the financial institution your executed document and a quick verbal confirmation that the document is still active, they are able to engage in conversations or perform transactions on your behalf.**
2. Your child reaches the age of 18. If you were to call your child’s college or university to discuss something, even tuition payments, the administration has no obligation to talk with you. Similar to above, an executed Power of Attorney and quick confirmation will allow for communication to occur between you and the administration.
3. Selling a house. This situation is usually slightly different because a Limited Power of Attorney is typically used rather than a “durable” one. The limited version only allows the person to help you for specific purpose rather than a more broad ability. We routinely have our sellers sign a Limited Power of Attorney so that we can sign closing documents on their behalf.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other matter.
John & Faye
* This refers to a Durable Power of Attorney.
** This can also be accomplished by having the person listed as a co-owner of an account; however, once the person is a co-owner, they also have inheritance rights to that account.