New Power of Attorney Explained

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A power of attorney is a legal document where you give someone the authority to act for you.

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People often misunderstand their power of attorney. The following are ten key concepts (four definitions and six practical effects) that often come up when someone is either creating or using a power of attorney:

(1) A General Power of Attorney. A general power of attorney is comprehensive. It is often use to pay bills and handle other day-to-day activities.

(2) A Limited Power of Attorney. This is a power of attorney for a limited purpose. For example, you are leaving town for three weeks and you won’t be present to attend a real estate closing. You may give someone a limited power of attorney to handle anything related to only that transaction.

(3) A Durable Power of Attorney. This power of attorney remains effective after you become incapacitated, which is, quite frankly, the reason most people create a power of attorney. In Louisiana, all powers of attorney are “durable” unless the specifically provide otherwise.

(4) A Springing Power of Attorney. This power of attorney has no legal effect until it “springs” into effect. A springing power of attorney becomes effective, typically, when the person who created the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. In a springing power of attorney, it is important to clearly define the standard for determining incapacity.

(5) Can They Clean Out My Bank Account. If you give someone power of attorney, they will likely be able to go to your bank and withdraw your funds. However, they have a duty to take actions that are only in your best interest. They would be stealing your money if they went to your bank and withdrew funds and spent those funds on themselves.

(6) Does Certain Language Need to Be in the Power of Attorney? If you expect the person you appoint to be able to do things like make donations, deal with a Succession on your behalf, buy sell or lease things on your behalf, or make your health care decisions, then the power to to those things, and other things, must be expressly granted in the language of the power of attorney document. These rules can vary state to state so check with a good estate attorney in your state to determine which powers must be expressly provided for.

(7) Can I Appoint More Than One Person? You can appoint more than one person to act for you, but do so with caution. Many financial institutions and other third parties do not like to be forced to work with two or more people, together, on a power of attorney. If you must name more than one, consider appointing them to act “jointly or separately.”

(8) Must Third Parties Honor Every Power of Attorney? No, a third party cannot be forced to honor a power of attorney that is presented to them. If there is something that they do not like about it (too old for their liking, not the right wording, etc.), they may not honor it.

(9) Do Powers of Attorney Get Recorded. Initially when signed, most powers of attorney do not get recorded at the courthouse. However, when it is time to use the power of attorney, some third parties may require that the power of attorney be recorded, and that the courthouse produce certified copies.

(10) Is My Power of Attorney Effective After I Die? No chance. Your power of attorney is no longer effective after you die. If assets in your name must be transacted after your death, the court will confirm your executor or appoint your administrator to deal with matters after your death.

So I hope you take to points from this post:

(1) Take care of this and all other components of your estate planning legal program while you are well; and

(2) Make sure you give power of attorney to someone you trust, is responsible, and someone you know that will act solely in your best interest, and not their best interest.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450


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  1. Thanks for the explanations. My brother who I have been taking care of for the past 10 years and lives in my house is now in the hospital and unable to make decisions himself. I don't have a power of attorney but the hospital has been allowing me to sign for everything concerning his health care. They had to intubate him at first and asked me if they could do that. I authorize that and every other procedure since. Do I need to get a Power of Attorney?

  2. Thank you for these videos. I’m starting to get information to become the POA for my incarcerated love one. Is there different steps for someone in a federal prison vs a normal citizen? I hope I phrased the question correctly. Thank you for any help.

  3. It makes no sense to me why you would give away all your power while you still have the ability to make decisions. You should have to go to a notary or somewhere to sign this too.

  4. Does the POA have an obligation to family to 1) prove the have POA
    2) keep family informed with financial transparency and medical status information

  5. I enjoy listening and learning. Thank you. What if existing POW is friends with 2 siblings and won't share info. POW appears to favor the 2 siblings and is possibly financially setting them up for their future. 3rd sibling feels left out due to non-transparency. Mother trusts pow but pow appears to be shady and dishonest. What can the 3rd sibling do?

  6. Know. I'm just saying that if.I was to gift my sister power of attorney and also my oldest nice power of attorney as well if. I wasn't able to take care of myself but just but start it off as my sister power of attorney because she's the oldest and my niece is her daughter but just in case if something was to happen to my sister at the well they my nice can start to take over power of attorney what's my sister pass away and .I'm still alive .

  7. Why if you just appoint two people power of attorney to take care of things but only at first started off as the oldest person really at first is the one who is in control taking care of everything at first because she's the oldest party city but still the youngest person that has power of attorney only time that she can really take control over anything unless the oldest person that has power of attorney passing the way then the youngest person have the right to take over power of attorney so they can take care of the person that's not air control to take care of the self.

  8. Why does that power of attorney steps when the mom die when a daughter goes two moms brokerage firm to get money to pay bills and do other things.

  9. Thank you, here in Australia my sister in law snichnoff got finacial power of attorney, money gone missing police wont do anything.. Im going to go get it Monday. Elderly abuse isnt a crime in this state can u believe it!

  10. Time is of the essence. A friend has a life insurance but through oversight, did not name a beneficiary. She is now in the hospital. Can she do a SPA naming a sister as the beneficiary to receive the insurance money in case she dies? By the way, she is single and her sister is her only sibling.

  11. Thank you, I didn't know anything. Now I'm over 73 and will get one put together soon!

  12. Explain this in regards to Jesus Christ regarding grace. Preachers do not teach this, in plain application to life. Thank you. Explain, surrendering all for the blessing, in regards to what you are pre-senting.

  13. If my mom speaks Spanish does the power of attorney need to be in Spanish or does it need to be in English and Translated?

  14. Thank you for your videos. I have a question hoping you can assist me with. My ex-husband and I appointed my father as POA for a property gifted to us by my father. I am trying to go through the legal procedures right now with settling the property. In this case here, would it be my father who makes the decision for the outcome of the property, or will it be myself and my ex-husband. I'm a little confused. Thank you in advance for your response.

  15. If a person didn’t make a power of attorney before they were diagnosed with Dementia and is now too incapacitated to sign the POA, where do you begin ?

  16. Informative, good points brought to attention especially who one chooses to be POA. But I feel Durable POA is key.

  17. I posted information about your Video today on another Youtube Channel Excuse the expression, but when the shit hits the fan! Whoa!
    On Youtube; "Woman arrested for taking mother out of care home" 90,097 views •Nov 5, 2020
    My husband and I are all set up with Powers of Attorney. With Covid lurking around ever corner, I'm thinking that we need to talk to our adult Children
    who do not have these things in place.

  18. This is helpful! I had wrongly assumed that it required an actual attorney to make decisions for me.

  19. I tried to send my mothers POA to the bank, but they wouldn't accept it without a seal on it. Tsk tsk ..shame on them.

  20. Thank you. Pretty much what I knew. Thanks to Recovery Innovations International and my Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) booklet.
    Only temp in MS nd only temp while in jail and hospital only. My boyfriend comes in before my sister as he is mentioned even before my mother, already passed. Again, thank you.

  21. how to defend the PoA against a Court Judge ,,,who may wants to force guardianship ?

  22. Hi I need help with someone handling my money and I don’t like the way they handle it

  23. Hello

    Can two family members from two diffrent states be power of attorney for someone

    Thank you

  24. I don't want to be the agent power of attorney for a certain family member. Can I refuse? I've tried talking about it and ends up in argument. My health is not so good and cant handle this responsibility but I'm being forced to do so- please help! I cant find anything online about this question.

  25. My mom gave me durable power of attorney she is out of the country and can’t never come back, but she is calling my other sister and telling her to do illegal things what can I do I’m the one with the DPOA? HELP PLEASE

  26. My mother gave my sister power attorney about 10yrs ago after my father passed. Well my sister just passed and all my mother account have her name on them and I need to know how to take her name off the account.

  27. How do i file the POA i already have it signed i thought it would be through the court clerk but its not working is it the auditors office

  28. My Mom gave PoA to her payee, and I'm pretty sure she didn't knowingly do it. I think it's going to be a hell of a fight to get it back.