A power of attorney (or POA) is a legal document that grants a person or organization the legal authority to act on another's behalf and make certain decisions for them.
A medical power of attorney, also known as an ‘Advance Directive‘ or ‘Health Care Proxy‘, is a form that allows a person to elect someone else to handle health care decisions on their behalf only if they are not able to do so themselves.
The person or organization granting the authority for decisions to be made on their behalf is known as the principal or grantor. The person receiving this authority is known as an agent.
A power of attorney needs to be signed in front of a licensed notary public in order to be legally binding. The notary public is a representative of the state government, and their job is to verify the identity of the signer, ensure they are signing under their own free will, and witness the signing.
Notarizing a power of attorney document used to mean locating a local notary in person, going to meet them on their schedule, and then giving them full access to your private affairs. This was a pretty unpleasant experience.
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