Free Power of Attorney Forms: Here, but before you use one…

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Free Power of Attorney Forms – 5 Safety Tips

By A. Sawyer

A Free Power of Attorney Form is a convenient document to enable an agent to conduct your affairs on your behalf.

It is also a document which can be abused or used in fraudulent transactions.

You may need a Free Power of Attorney Form whilst recovering from an operation, whilst being away on vacation or when retaining the services of a professional such as a real estate management company.

Whatever your reasons, consider the following guidelines to ensure your basic safety:

1. Choose you agent with care

Be wary of so-called professionals with fancy titles such as “asset manager” or “investment advisor” etc. whom you do not know. Issuing even a limited power of attorney to handle money matters can be disastrous and there are many horror stories especially of elder people having been defrauded.

A trusted friend, family member or your lawyer or accountant are good candidates. They must be loyal to you and there must be no conflict of interest.

2. Issue a Limited- or Specific Power of Attorney

There is no need to issue a General Power of Attorney if you only want your agent to handle certain matters. Moreover, you can make your document as broad or restrictive as you wish.

For example, you may specify that your agent must never invest in oil shares or may not repaint your property in any color other than blue. As long as you do not break the law (for example fair housing, employment etc.), you can stipulate anything.

3. Stipulate an expiry date

A Power of Attorney comes into effect the moment you sign it unless you specify otherwise. You should also specify an expiry date upon which the POA automatically becomes null and void and and no revocation is necessary. If you are satisfied with the way your agent conducted your affairs, you can always issue another document.

4. Monitor the actions of your agent

Your finances must be kept in a separate account to that of your agent. Ask for regular accounting statements and reports. There is no governing body for attorneys-in-fact or agents. It is up to you to ensure that there is no abuse of power.

5. Termination of a Power of Attorney

If you revoke a POA, you should do so orally and in writing. Be sure to send copies of the revocation to interested third parties such as your bank or the deeds office. Ask your agent for the original document to be returned to you upon expiration or revocation.

It is not a legal requirement to have your document drafted by a lawyer. You can use a Free Power of Attorney Form as sample document to create your own. However, it does not cost a lot of money to have one drafted by a reputable law firm – it’s easy enough to phone around and get some quotes.

A Sawyer is with http://www.free-legal-document.com/, a site supplying free legal forms as well as as well as guidelines on the legal requirements for a Power of Attorney.

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