A power of attorney is nothing more than a special kind of legal document that grants someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is not a job, a position or a career. Rather, it describes the relationship between two people. Some powers of attorney include payments or salaries, while others do not. Talk to a lawyer in your state if you need legal advice about how powers of attorney work and your state's requirements.
Powers and Agents
A power of attorney exists between three key types of people or organizations: the person granting the power, called the principal; the person receiving the power, called the agent or the attorney-in-fact; and the third parties with whom the agent interacts on the principal's behalf. An agent can do anything the principal allows her today, such as conduct business with the principal's bank, buy property in the principal's name or make health care decisions when the principal is unable to do so.
Your agent can be anyone you choose, as long as the person is a competent adult. The attorney-in-fact's powers are determined by the type of power of attorney you grant, and can be very broad or very limited. Once you grant person power of attorney, that person becomes your attorney-in-fact, but that does not mean the person is a lawyer. The title "attorney-in-fact," "agent," or "power of attorney" only means the person can act on your behalf; it does not convey any legal authority to practice law.
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Whether an attorney-in-fact receives compensation is entirely up to the principal. If, for example, you grant your child health care power of attorney in case you get ill and want someone to interact with your physicians for you, no payments or salary are usually involved. On the other hand, if you appoint your attorney to look after your affairs by granting her power of attorney over your finances, the attorney probably won't do so unless you pay her a salary.
While some agents receive a salary or payment from the principal in consideration for performing the duties of a power of attorney, all agents are limited in what they can do with the principal's property. If, for example, you grant your agent the right to handle your finances, the agent cannot use your money for his own financial gain. A power of attorney is a fiduciary, meaning he has the legal obligation to perform his duties in the best interest of the principal.