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Keeping Things Going on the Home Front: Power of Attorney while you travel

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Planning on an extended vacation or long-term travel abroad? Chances are you will be leaving behind important personal, financial, and business affairs at home. Who’s hands will you put them in? The more property and profits you have at stake, the more necessary a power of attorney will be for you. You need a trusted agent to manage your affairs while you are gone; someone who will always have your best interest in mind, so that you can have peace of mind while you travel.

By simply obtaining a power of attorney document, you can then fill it out – hopefully with the guidance of a lawyer – and then get it notarized. Once you do this, your chosen representative will be given the power to handle your life at home while you’re away. But there is both general and special power of attorney: which is more appropriate when you’re traveling?

Well, before you determine what type of power of attorney is best, it’s advisable you get a good grasp of exactly what your agent will need to do and for how long. Be clear about this! Otherwise you risk turning over too much power and lending it to misuse or abuse.

It’s pretty common for a person to give their agent a general power of attorney when they travel. While this is a broad, almost omniscient power, it’s the most convenient for the traveler. Here are some of the powers that are usually granted:

·          Handling financial decisions: bank deposits, misc. transactions

·          Property and real estate: buying and selling

·          Making purchases

·          Dealing with insurance claims

·          Investing in the stock market

·          Filing taxes

·          Operating business endeavors

If you plan on going away for months to years on end, a general power of attorney might be ideal. But note: it leaves a lot of room for mishap and if special power of attorney is sufficient, you should always chose that instead, as it is more limited. With a special power of attorney, you may simply grant your agent the ability to sell your house or collect debts for you while you are unavailable.

If you have any questions or concerns about the power of attorney, there are plenty of lawyers and legal services eager to advise you, but for a fee. But for such an important decisions, it’s almost always worth it.

Essentially, a power of attorney comes in handy while you travel, but you must be careful as to how much power you give away. The more interests you have at home, the more important this decision making process will be. Your agent must be a trusted and capable person who you have absolute faith in. After all, who can enjoy their time out of the state or country if they’re constantly worried about the finances or property?

Remember your options for health care and durable power of attorney, as well, as these address financial and health concerns that may rise unexpectedly. Specifically, if you become disabled or incapacitated, you can have a representative take your place in all your affairs with durable power of attorney.

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