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Power of Attorney Authority in Estate Planning

Butler Law Feb. 23, 2022

Writing a will remains a vital component of estate planning, but there are other steps someone could take. Planners may wish to draw up valid power of attorney documents under South Carolina law. While signed power of attorney documents do not affect assets transfers when someone passes away, they provide a means of putting critical decision-making authority into a trusted person’s hands while the grantor is alive.

The Purpose of A Power of Attorney

A signed power of attorney form grants someone agent or attorney-in-fact authority for the principal. An agent may act on the grantor’s behalf in many ways, including filing taxes, dealing with utility companies, and more. Not all power of attorney forms are the same, though.

A financial power of attorney document only addresses financial matters. A durable power of attorney form remains in effect even when the grantor is incapacitated or becomes legally incompetent.

Power of attorney forms might be revocable as well. However, the possibility might exist to craft an irrevocable power of attorney form.

POA documents could extend beyond financial matters. A health care power of attorney form would address medical issues in the event the principal becomes incapacitated.

Estate Planning and POA Documents

Writing a power of attorney form may require much thought involving careful estate planning steps. Estate planning documents must be valid under state law, and state statutes detail what constitutes a legal power of attorney. The document may be useless if someone writes a poorly worded, invalid POA form.

Choosing a qualified and honest person as an agent seems necessary as well. The person would gain much authority, so choosing wisely would be essential.