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Why a Power of Attorney Is Important

Aug. 26, 2020

A Power of Attorney, POA for short, is one of the most important legal documents an individual should have in today's world.

What are POAs? A Power of Attorney is a legal document or documents giving an individual the authority to act on your behalf. This individual is called an Agent. You are titled as the Principal. Once the POA is drafted it must be signed by the Principal, signed by two witnesses, and notarized. The witnesses and the notary cannot be named as an agent within the document. Additionally, there are other requirements Pennsylvania has stated that must be present in the document. An attorney licensed in Pennsylvania will be able to draft a POA that is considered valid by the Commonwealth.

There are two common types of POAs. The first is a Financial Power of Attorney. As indicated by its title, the agent will handle financial decisions. This can include anywhere from making deposits to your bank account to selling property. The terms of the POA will be set by the Principal when drafting the document.

The second type of POA is a Health Care Power of Attorney. Again, the title is self-explanatory. The agent will be authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf due to your incapacity. However, there is an alternative option to a Health Care Power of Attorney. It is called an Advanced Health Care Directive. An Advance Health Care Directive is a health care power of attorney, living will or a written combination of a health care power of attorney and living will. Pennsylvania does not require this document to be notarized. However, the Principal and two witnesses must sign the document. The most common of these is a Living Will. A Living Will expresses a principal's wishes and instructions for health care and health care directions when the principal is determined to be incompetent and has an end-stage medical condition or is permanently unconscious. Pennsylvania has specific rules as to who can make a Living Will and the requirements of how the Living Will is to be drafted.

Why are POAs important? POAs allow a person to make decisions on your behalf in the event you cannot. In one instance, a wife was not able to make decisions in regard to financial matters because she was not given the Power of Attorney by her husband. You can be reassured about your finances and health care in the event you become incapacitated by executing a Power of Attorney.

McKelvey Law Offices, LLC can assist you in drafting a Power of Attorney. Please call us or check out our website at