Powers of Attorney

By Chris and Laurie Kemp, CSAs

Here are some common questions and answers about a Power of Attorney.

Q: Why should I have a power of attorney?

A: The primary purpose is to name someone who can act for you in a situation where you cannot. The situation often arises when you have an illness that puts you in the hospital or for some other reason you are unable to pay your bills.

Q: Do I need to hire an attorney to create a Power of Attorney?

A: No, but if you are unsure about what a Power of Attorney is you may want to. Minnesota created a Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney that can be downloaded at: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/Handbooks/Probate/PowerOfAtty.pdf

Q: Does everyone need a Power of Attorney?

A: We feel that it is a best practice for any adult as you never know when you might need it.

Q: Is the person I give the powers to called my Power of Attorney?

A: No. In the document they are called your Attorney-in-fact.

Q: What powers am I giving my Attorney-in-fact?

A:  In the MN Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney mentioned above, you can grant some or all of 14 different powers.

Q: Can I name more than one person as my Attorney-in-fact?

A:  Yes you can, however, you must decide whether they can each act alone or must all agree before they act for you.

Q: Should I tell someone that I have named them as my attorney-in-fact if I don’t need them to do anything for me right now?

A: It is best to talk with the person you want to name to make sure they are willing to do this. If you don’t want to do this, you can ask your attorney if they would hold on to the power of attorney document until it is needed. Then they can give it to the attorney-in-fact when it is needed.

To help your attorney in fact do their job when the time comes, it is best to write down the information they may need to get your bills paid. This would include information such as: where you bank; where your savings are; what your regular bills are etc. The more you write down about your financial situation, they easier their job will be. When you are back on your feet, you can take over those tasks again.

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