What is a Power of Attorney and when would I need one?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document in which the principal (you) designate another person (called the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf to make all decisions, in a specified matter or in all matters.

Special circumstances may trigger the need for a POA for any person over the age of 18. For example, military personnel may create a POA before they deploy overseas, leaving behind their families, so that someone can act on their behalf should they become incapacitated.

Incapacity isn't the only reason you might need a POA. Younger people who travel a great deal might set up a POA so that someone could handle their affairs, especially if they have no spouse to do so in their absence.

However, the most common time to establish a POA comes with advanced age, usually in retirement.

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