A power of attorney is a legal document authorizing someone else to care for your property or money matters for you. The person giving the power is called the “principal” and the person taking care of things for the principal is called the “attorney-in-fact.” Generally, a power of attorney is an incapacity planning tool to be used when the principal is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make his/her own financial decisions. A power of attorney can be limited in time or scope with appropriate documentation, and a competent person can revoke a power of attorney in writing at any time. It is important to understand that the power of attorney is effective immediately when the principal signs it—it does not have a requirement that you are incapacitated before the attorney-in-fact can act. You are still free to act for yourself, but the attorney-in-fact can also act for you. Unfortunately, power of attorneys can be misused, so it is very important to name someone you have a great deal of trust in. If you’re considering drafting a power of attorney document, don’t do it alone. Contact Blethen Berens for a consultation.