Power of Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA
Have you ever wondered who would take care of your finances or make decisions for you if you were unable to do so for yourself? Don’t worry about leaving it up to whoever the law says has this right. Look into securing a power of attorney. This legal document can help you prepare for any situation where you may need someone else to make decisions for you. With the help of an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania you can easily set one up and get peace of mind today.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
The American Bar Association defines power of attorney as a document that gives someone power to act on your behalf as a legal agent. This authority can be either temporary, or permanent. The result is that your designated agent can manage your affairs without your written approval.
Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney?
One of the reasons why you may pursue a POA is for convenience. For example, you may rather have someone manage your assets without securing your approval each time. Any Pennsylvania POA can circumvent checks and balance steps, and allow someone to act on your behalf.
Another reason for a POA is if you are unable to make legally sound decisions. A POA provides you with security, giving a person of your choosing the power to act for you. This arrangement is typical for senior citizens. It’s also common for people with severe physical or mental conditions that prevent them from making decisions.
Types of Power of Attorney In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Not every POA grants the same powers to your agent. In fact, you can choose from a variety of different POAs. This allows you to cater to what best suits your situation.
General Power of Attorney
A general POA grants an array of powers to the agent. This can include:
- The ability to handle your financial matters and accounts
- Power to manage your insurance needs
- The ability to operate your business
- The ability to make business decisions on your behalf
- Power to hire or fire employees
- The ability to settle claims against you
- The ability to change your estate plan.
You may use this type of POA if you will be away for an extended period and need legal representation in Pittsburgh, PA to handle your affairs. This legal arrangement may happen during your absence. It may also occur in a situation where you cannot make the decisions on your own due to an illness or injury.
Special Power of Attorney
A special POA is more specific, giving you the power to sign off on distinct powers granted to your agent. For example, if you only want someone to sign off on real estate deals, a limited power of attorney would be proper. You may also choose to use a special POA when you don’t have the time to deal with specific affairs due to time or health constraints.
Many states have two sets of POA laws, one for financial or general POAs and one for health care POAs. However, all types of POA in Pittsburgh fall under Pennsylvania’s Powers of Attorney laws. The laws do contain some rules specific to POA type, especially those involving medical decisions. In addition, Pennsylvania laws do not provide a sample POA form. Instead, you can use an online template or have your Pittsburgh attorney create a custom document. One exception is the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. They require an official form in order to convey certain tax powers.
Health Care Power of Attorney
This type of POA grants your agent the right to make all medical decisions on your behalf. It comes in handy when you are not conscious or are otherwise unable to make decisions regarding your health care. While state laws can differ, your POA could have the ability to make serious decisions, like ending life support.
You may want to use a health care POA if you are elderly or sick. It’s possible you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t make decisions on your own. A Power of attorney can transfer to your child or someone you trust so that care can continue in your best interests.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney (DPOA), enables the agent to control specified functions. DPOAs are useful if you anticipate losing your mental faculties, such as after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In essence, it acts as a preventative safeguard.
Like many states, Pennsylvania law deems all Pittsburgh POAs durable, unless they specifically state otherwise. In addition, you cannot create a valid POA without following the execution requirements. These mandate that you sign your POA in the presence of a notary and two additional witnesses. In most cases, a photocopy or electronic version of a POA has the same effect as the original. Furthermore, your agent cannot exercise any of their powers without executing an acknowledgment and attaching it to the POA. Note that the notary and acknowledgement rules do not apply to Pittsburgh POAs that exclusively convey health care powers.
Choosing an Agent
The person you choose as an agent should be someone you trust. Often, people choose a family member as they usually have your best interests in mind and are close to you. However, you can select any individual to be your POA. Keep in mind that whoever you choose will be in charge of managing your affairs. This should be someone you trust to honor your wishes.
Appointing Multiple Agents
As a principal, in Pittsburgh, PA you have the right to appoint multiple agents. You decide whether these agents act together or make separate decisions. Having two or more agents establishes a system of checks and balances. This procedure keeps one agent from making too rash of a judgment. However, it can also lead to discrepancies that may cause delays.
At the very least, it is crucial to have a backup POA should something happen to your primary. A successor agent can take control once the primary agent either passes away or cannot carry out the duties of an agent.
Revoking a Power of Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
You have the right to revoke your power of attorney at any time as long as you are of sound mind to do so. You will have to put your revocation in writing and file it with the same place in Pittsburgh, PA that handled your original POA paperwork.
Another party may also try to revoke your POA. Although, that becomes a much more complex legal proceeding and would be difficult to prove in court. The person would have to show the agent has done something to jeopardize your interests.
PAlawhelp.org states that you can revoke your Pittsburgh POA by giving written notice to your agent. In addition, it is best practice to also notify your bank or anyone else who may rely on the POA. Furthermore, if your agent is your spouse, their powers automatically terminate if one of you files for divorce. However, a divorce does not revoke the POA entirely. Instead, the spouse’s powers will transfer to your successor agent.
Using a POA to Protect your Interests
You can insert provisions into your agreement that force your agent to report to an outside party. For example, a family accountant or a designated medical doctor could fill this role. This arrangement adds another layer of security and guarantees that another party can review decisions.
If you become incapacitated, having a POA may eliminate the need for judicial guardianship proceedings. However, in some situations, a guardian may still be necessary. Under Pennsylvania statute, you can nominate a potential guardian when you create your POA. A Pittsburgh court will appoint your choice absent good cause to the contrary. In addition, the court will determine whether to fully or partially suspend your POA during the guardianship. If your agent retains any powers, the agent will be accountable to both the guardian and the principal.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File POA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?
It is always wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Pittsburgh trust or estate issues. POA paperwork can be complex, so having a dedicated Pittsburgh legal professional on your side is helpful. A lawyer can also help you add provisions that safeguard your interests when you cannot look out for yourself.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If you want to create a power of attorney, you should begin by speaking with an attorney. We can match you with an experienced Pittsburgh lawyer that can help you navigate your POA. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Pennsylvania state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!