Many of those that have designed their power of attorney are lucky to never go through an experience that leaves them reliant on the power. Many people fill out the necessary paperwork to choose theirs and then push it to the back of their minds. But in some cases, a falling out, medical issues, or other unforeseen circumstances can leave you needing to change your power of attorney. But just how is this done in Georgia?
To answer that question we will first take a quick look at what exactly it is we mean when we use the term power of attorney. Just what powers does this give somebody? From there, we’ll take a look at what considerations you should keep in mind when choosing a power of attorney. Finally, we’ll look at what you can do to change your power of attorney should you choose to do so.
What Exactly Is Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a type of document which gives them the power to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf. For example, you could give somebody the power of attorney in order to sell or mortgage your home, or you could convey power of attorney to somebody to give them the ability to deposit checks at your bank or file your taxes.
The two most common POAs you’ll see in estate planning are:
- A Financial POA: The examples listed above would fall under the banner of financial POA. You are conveying to an individual the power to work on your behalf financially.
- A Health Care POA: This would be a POA that allows an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf. These are commonly durable POAs.
While these are the common uses for a POA, they could fall under several different categories. The different types of POAs are:
- General: This is a document that grants an agent powers on your behalf. It can function even if you are not incapacitated. If you need help with something, a general POA is usually the one you’ll use. It ends when you are incapacitated or die.
- Durable: A durable POA could be a general or limited POA but the important aspect is that it will remain in effect after you are incapacitated. It can be rescinded if you stop being incapacitated but otherwise it typically ends at death.
- Special or Limited: These are POAs that are designed around a specific task or a limited amount of time. If you wanted a POA to make it easier for an agent to sell your house then a special POA could be written that would end upon the completion of the sale.
- Springing: This is a POA that becomes effective once you are incapacitated. This is similar to a durable POA except that a durable POA becomes effective when it is signed and it continues when you are incapacitated, whereas the springing POA is only effective once you are incapacitated.
Who Should Be My Power of Attorney??
The most important thing when choosing who should be your power of attorney is trust. If you do not trust somebody then they should not be chosen. However, you need to consider trust from several different perspectives.
For one, you should trust that the individual you choose is going to act in your best interest. This is one reason why so many people choose family members or close family friends. Of course, family members can also be untrustworthy so you should trust your gut if you think that a particular person wouldn’t be a good fit.
Another consideration, one that is equally important, is how much you trust the individual’s ability to handle financial matters. If an individual has a hard time keeping their own financial situation in order then chances are good they’re not going to be a great fit for managing yours.
If you don’t have anybody in your life that you trust in this fashion then you can work with a professional fiduciary. This would be a working relationship, in that you are hiring them for their professional services and as such there are a number of legalities involved, many of which offer more protections to an individual than they’d receive by naming a family member or friend as their power of attorney.
What Happens If You Need to Change Who Your Power of Attorney Is?
So you chose to make your friend your power of attorney but then realized that they are terrible with their money and you absolutely would not trust them to make medical decisions on your behalf. What can you do?
You will need to fill out a Georgia revocation power of attorney form. This is a form that specifies that you are revoking your power of attorney and it is fairly straightforward. You fill out what kind of authority is being revoked, who the principal is, and who the authority to be revoked is.
While the document itself is fairly straightforward, you will need to work with a notary public in order to get a notarization seal. It is also extremely important that you provide the agent listed in the power of attorney a couple of the documents. A revocation is only effective when the agent having their power revoked knows about it. If you have not provided a copy to them then they are still within their legal right to act on your behalf, because they were not informed that they were otherwise not allowed to.
Should I Work with an Attorney?
If you have any questions regarding your power of attorney, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional with a strong knowledge of the topic such as those you’ll find at Oren Ross. There are a lot of complications that can come up with this particular issue and working with an attorney is guaranteed to be the fastest way to get the answers you need when you need them.