A power of attorney gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. This person can act just as if they are you in all matters in which he or she is given power in the power of attorney document. Arkansas terms to be familiar with when using a power of attorney are:
- POA: Power of Attorney is commonly referred to as a POA.
- Principal: The principal is the person that has granted an agent the power to act on their behalf.
- Agent: The agent is the person that has been granted the power to act on behalf of the principal.
- Durable: A durable power of attorney continues to apply if the principal becomes incapacitated.
- General POA: This term is often used to describe a power of attorney granting financial and legal powers to the agent.
- Medical POA: This term is often used to describe a power of attorney that gives the agent the authority to make medical decisions for the principal.
It is important to choose an agent that you wholeheartedly trust, because this person will be making important decisions and carrying out actions for you without the need for your consent. Remember, the power of attorney is your agent. They act to make sure that your best interests are carried out. The wording in your POA is very important, because it is the document that grants your agent their authority; they can only act according to the authority granted in the document.
The POA can be a “springing” power of attorney which means that it “springs” into effect when you cannot make decisions for yourself anymore. This can be determined by two independent doctors declaring incapacity or by a court declaring incapacity. A springing POA is a good option for someone who is not ready nor needs an agent acting on their behalf at this time, but knows who they would like to act on their behalf should he or she be unable to make decisions at a later date.
There are many reasons that a POA may end. These reasons include the occurrence of an ending date specified in the document or following an event specified as ending the POA in the document. The most common reason for a POA to end is death. At death, the POA is terminated and an administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate takes over in decision-making for the estate. Many people confuse the concept of a POA and a Will. A POA controls the ability of another to act on your behalf prior to death, and a Will gives authority and property to others from your estate after your death. That is why it is still important to execute a valid will or make other estate planning decisions irrespective of your decision to execute a POA. POAs can also be revoked for any reason or nor reason at all at any time by the principal as long as he or she is competent.