The phrase “Power of Attorney” refers to a notarized document, a written authorization that grants certain rights to an agent, called the Attorney in Fact, acting on behalf of the principal or grantor; an agent or Attorney in Fact may be said to “hold a Power of Attorney.” This principal or grantor who allows the Attorney in Fact to represent him/ her in this manner must be of sound mental capacity at the time the document is drafted. The grantor or principal may be a person who is temporarily incapacitated or an elderly or disabled person who is not physically competent to carry out the required tasks. Or the grantor may find certain tasks difficult because of failing but not impaired mental capacity (ex: writing checks and keeping a record of those), and thus must appoint an agent, someone who is a competent fiduciary. This attorney in fact or agent is authorized to perform tasks according to his or her scope of authority. On behalf of the principal, the Attorney in Fact may be authorized to perform all or any tasks such as making health care decisions or making financial decisions; a limited Power of Attorney may give the Attorney in Fact restricted powers such as the power to handle only certain aspects of the finances or the power to handle only the heath care decisions. The principal has the right to revoke the Power of Attorney at any time (see below RE HOW CAN A POWER OF ATTORNEY BE REVOKED?). The Power of Attorney was formerly called an Instrument Under Seal.
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