Would you put your life in another man’s hands? When you grant your power of attorney to another, you are putting your financial life fully into their hands. Think about that, you are putting someone totally in control of your affairs. It is not something to be entered into lightly and you probably do not want to make a major decision like this based on a one size fits all form letter.
To be legally valid in Vermont, the principal must complete and sign the paperwork in the presences of one witness and a notary. The principal must also be legally competent at the time of signing. The agent named cannot act as a witness or notary. This power of attorney does not give the agent the right to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal. The power of attorney may also be limited as to the scope of the agent’s responsibilities.
The power of attorney may be valid at the time of signing or at a later date. Most durable powers of attorney are called springing powers of attorney because they are designed to become effective at the time the principal becomes incapacitated. The principals’ primary physician is legally who makes the determination and for that reason cannot also act as the agent.
Most parties will consult with an estate planning attorney when creating a power of attorney. The agent selected and any alternate agents who may assume their duties should be very carefully selected. Prudent clients will also request a regular accounting of all transactions made on the principal’s behalf, reported to the principal and a third party who can determine the validity of the transactions.