Exercise Extreme Caution when using many of our free forms - or any legal material. While they may provide general ideas on format & content, validity requirements can and do vary greatly from state to state. Many MUST be Properly Modified for your own location and circumstances. (Hint: If in doubt it's usually safer to include unneeded clauses than to leave out necessary ones. . . . but it's even safer to consult a competent source or use current, state specific ones like ours mentioned below.) Also, we urge people (and lawyers too) to read our Relying On Legal Info FAQ.
As a rule, General, Health Care, and Special Powers of Attorney provide for a certain circumstance or set of circumstances. Any one of these contracts may be made into a Durable Power of Attorney. A durability provision in a power of attorney allows a document that goes into effect to stay in effect for a long period of time.
It is important to choose someone you trust to act as your Agent. Many people choose to appoint a lawyer to this position but anyone, friend, family, acquaintance or stranger, can be appointed to act as your Agent. The most important factor is that you are sure the person you appoint to make your legal and financial decisions for you is someone you know you can trust.
If the Agent should make a poor decision and be accused of misconduct, he or she is generally only held responsible if it is determined that the misconduct was intentional. If the Agent does harm to the Principal unintentionally or unknowingly, the Agent is not held responsible for damages. This leniency is intended to encourage individuals and organizations to more readily accept the responsibility of handling another's legal and financial matters. An Agent does not commonly receive compensation for his or her efforts.
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