Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants powers over a person’s affairs to another, without taking them away from the grantor. This can be “limited” to certain areas or specific transactions or time periods. Or, it can be “general” and cover everything.


  • It can be very convenient to have a substitute person with authority to sign in place, for illnesses, setbacks, or even just vacation.
  • May obviate the need to pursue a costly and time-consuming formal guardianship.


  • Possibility of abuse.  The more power granted under a POA, the more trust you place in your designated attorney-in-fact.
  • Care must be taken to keep track of who has been given original power of attorney documents.  If the designee is changed, then previous designees must be given notice that their powers have been revoked.  Otherwise, they could still use the old power of attorney in good faith.
    • Burkhart and Burkhart maintains a detailed and comprehensive inventory of all the original estate planning documents we have in our secured files, and we make a record each time an original document is distributed.

Did you know?

  • A power of attorney may be written to be effective immediately, or upon the occurrence of a condition (a “springing” POA).  Usually the condition is the incapacity of the person.
  • A “durable” power of attorney means that a later disability does not invalidate the powers.  The POA “endures” the changed circumstances.

Contact Burkhart and Burkhart today for advice on how to best utilize a power of attorney.

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