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Pennsylvania residents may not be able to act for themselves for a number of reasons. However, one common reason is that they have become incapacitated or reached a point of mental decline that resulted in an inability to make sound decisions. Before this type of scenario comes about, it is wise to consider appointing a person — such as a power of attorney agent — who could make important decisions when one is unable to do so oneself.

Appointing a power of attorney agent is a smart step in any estate plan. The agent should be a trusted individual who is willing and able to take on such an important role. The principal, or person making the power of attorney appointment, can limit the amount of power an agent has by detailing the scope within which he or she may act. In some cases, parties want to appoint an agent for short-term reasons, and others may want an agent who can step in after an incapacitating event.

Rather than just asking someone to act in the role, it is important to draw up legally-binding documents to give the agent legal power. In many cases, an agent will need to take the power of attorney document to the bank or other financial institutions to show that he or she has the authority to act on another person’s behalf. If the document is not created correctly, a number of problems could result.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania residents do not have to try to draw up power of attorney documents on their own. They can enlist the help of experienced elder law attorneys who can properly create such documents in accordance with state law. Interested parties may wish to make this appointment to ensure that their estate plans cover their bases.