A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that can be used to serve a variety of purposes. Often, a POA is incorporated into a comprehensive estate plan. If you are planning to execute a POA you should first have a firm understanding of the power conferred in the document. You may also have other questions relating to a POA, such as “ When does a power of attorney become effective in Missouri? ”
A power of attorney is a legal arrangement that allows a “Principal” (you) to appoint an “Agent” (the person to whom you wish to grant power) the legal authority to act on behalf of the Principal in legal matters. The extent of the authority granted by the Principal depends on the type of POA executed. A general power of attorney grants broads powers to the Agent, allowing the Agent to do things such as withdraw funds from the Principal’s financial accounts, sell property owned by the Principal, and even into contracts in the Principal’s name. A limited power of attorney, on the other hand, only grants the Agent the powers specifically enumerated in the POA agreement.
Absent instructions within the agreement to the contrary, a POA will become effective as soon as all the formalities of creation of the POA have been accomplished. In other words, as soon as you sign the agreement in front of a notary public it becomes effective unless you specify that the POA is to take effect at a later date.
In some cases a limited power of attorney is only intended to be effective during a specific period of time. A caregiver’s POA is a good example of a POA that is only effective for a specific period of time. If you have minor children, for instance, and you plan to be out of the state for a week, during which time someone else will care for the children, you may wish to give the caregiver POA to consent to medical care for the children. You would then make the POA effective during our absence.
Missouri also allows “springing” power of attorneys. A “springing” POA is one that only takes effect when a triggering event occurs. Your incapacity, for example, might be a triggering event that causes the POA to take effect.
If you have additional questions or concerns about powers of attorney, or estate planning in general, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.