Delegating Authority Legally and Responsibly
A power of attorney is a document used to delegate authority to another person. The person who executes a power of attorney, the principal, gives authority to another person, an agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial and/or health care decisions for the principal.
A principal can decide on the scope of the authority delegated to the attorney-in-fact. The principal can delegate very broad authority to the attorney-in-fact or the authority can be limited in scope.
For example, limited powers of attorney are used frequently to close on the sale of a residence when the principal will not be present at closing. The principal can delegate limited authority to the attorney-in-fact to accomplish a specific task, namely executing the documents necessary to transfer title on the principal’s residence. After the closing is concluded, the authority of the attorney-in-fact is terminated.
A principal can execute a durable or a non-durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is one in which the authority given to an attorney-in-fact continues on or “endures”, when the principal has become disabled. The authority in a non-durable power of attorney terminates when the principal becomes disabled and unable to act. In Missouri, in order to create a durable power of attorney it must comply with the requirements found in Section 404.705 RSMo. A power of attorney must be created and executed properly in order to be effective and binding. The attorneys at the law firm of Gregory E. Robinson, P.C., have the experience to assist you in creating the appropriate type of power of attorney as well as advise you concerning your overall estate plan.