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What you should know about a Minnesota power of attorney

When people in Minnesota will not be in a position to take certain actions regarding their money or property matters, they can name someone else to take care of these tasks for them. According to the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, a person can complete a power of attorney form designating an attorney-in-fact to fulfill certain legal duties. The attorney-in-fact does not have to be an actual lawyer, although he or she could be. A spouse, adult child or other family member is often a logical choice, as whoever is designated must be completely trustworthy.

An attorney-in-fact can have the power to perform as many tasks as the power of attorney document specifies. The person, known as the principal, who creates the document has complete authority over what is included. However, only a person who is mentally competent may create a power of attorney, and the document is only good for as long as the principal remains so. If he or she becomes incapacitated, the power of attorney is no longer valid unless it is specifically noted in writing on the document. If the principal states that incapacity should not affect the validity, then the document is known as a durable power of attorney.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch explains that the power of attorney is a legal document, but it rarely involves the court system. However, if it is not a durable power of attorney, and the principal is no longer of sound mind or is incapacitated, then the courts will typically step in and appoint a guardian to make decisions on behalf of the principal. 

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