POWERS OF ATTORNEY
ilitary members are often called away from home on short notice. With a power of attorney,
you can appoint someone to act on your behalf and to administer your personal affairs while you
A power of attorney is a document that allows someone else to act as your legal agent in your
absence. It can be used to allow a friend to sell your car, to let your spouse file your taxes, or to
authorize a relative to take your child to the hospital.
WHILE A POWER OF ATTORNEY CAN BE USEFUL, IT CAN ALSO BE HARMFUL
IF ABUSED. A power of attorney is one of the strongest legal documents that an individual
can give to another person. A power of attorney can be used to create new debts, buy or sell
property, and deplete your bank account. It is important to remember that YOU will be held
responsible for the acts of your agent. Thus, you must exercise great care in choosing your
A power of attorney will be accepted as valid for most purposes. However, there are some
actions that cannot be accomplished by using a power of attorney because these actions are so
personal in nature they cannot be delegated to another. For example, a marriage ceremony or
the execution of a will cannot be done by a power of attorney. In addition, some businesses
require a power of attorney to be in a certain form or be recorded. For example, your bank may
accept only a special power of attorney with the account number specifically listed. Whenever
possible, you should check with the business before obtaining or using a power of attorney to be
sure it will be accepted.
LWAYS give the smallest amount of power necessary to your agent. NEVER make a power
of attorney INDEFINITE OR PERMANENT, unless it is a health care power of attorney. It is
best to set a date for the power of attorney to expire, which is specified in the power of attorney.
This ensures that your power of attorney will not be effective after the date specified on the
document. The Malmstrom Legal Office will draft your POA to be effective for no more than
one year unless the attorney determines that there is a special need or exception.
Your power of attorney will automatically terminate upon the date specified in the document or
upon the death of either you or your agent. If, however, you want to CANCEL or terminate a
power of attorney before it expires, you can give a REVOCATION OF POWER OF
ATTORNEY to any person who might deal with your original agent. Just remember, it is
usually impossible to effectively cancel a power of attorney, unless you get back the original you
gave to your agent, as well as all of the copies that may have been made by banks, realtors,
merchants, landlords, and other people who are relying on the power of attorney which you
TYPES OF POWERS OF ATTORNEY
GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY authorizes your agent to do ANY act that you could do
yourself relating to your property and personal affairs. Because this document grants broad and
virtually unlimited authority to your agent, it should be given to a person you trust completely.
Your agent may obligate you in a way you never intended and for which you will be held legally
accountable. The general power of attorney should be granted sparingly. Limit the period that
the general power of attorney is in effect to the absolute minimum necessary to accomplish the
task. Keep in mind that a general power of attorney is automatically revoked if you become
SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY authorizes your agent to do one or more certain
specified acts, such as selling your car, shipping household goods, or cashing a paycheck. A
special power of attorney limits the authority granted to your agent and, thus, is safer than a
general power of attorney. Special powers of attorney are drafted to fit individual needs on a
one-time basis or for a limited period of time and are usually your best choice.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY authorizes your agent to perform the duties that you
have designated and for the length of time that you have stated. However, unlike an ordinary
general power of attorney, if you become incapacitated while the power of attorney is in effect,
then the power of attorney will remain in effect. If you have further questions about this, you
must speak to an attorney for more information.
SPRINGING DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY authorizes your agent to perform
general or special duties ONLY in the event that you become incapacitated. This type of power
of attorney springs into effect in the event you become incapacitated and upon proof of your
If this is the first time you are considering giving a power of attorney to someone, or if you have
any questions on this information, you SHOULD speak with a legal assistance attorney before
having a Power of Attorney drafted. For further assistance, please stop by the Legal Office
between 1300 and 1500 Monday through Thursday or call 731-2878 to make an appointment.
DRAFTED SEPTEMBER 2005
CAPT SHELLY D. STOKES, LEGAL ASSISTANCE OFFICER
EDITED JANUARY 2007
CAPT CLINTON G. EUBANKS, LEGAL ASSISTANCE OFFICER