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Nevada power of attorney basics

Nevada law allows for one person to name another to act on his or her behalf by means of a power of attorney. The reasons behind making a power of attorney are as diverse as the people who make them. They can be tailored for a limited purpose, like selling a particular asset, or they may address a broad area, like making health care decisions.

The person who executes a power of attorney is sometimes referred to as the principal. The person named to make decisions is known as the attorney in fact and is bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the principal. A power of attorney is not effective unless it is in writing, signed by the principal and either notarized or witnessed by two adults. There are a few legal requirements regarding who may properly witness the signing of a power of attorney. For example, a witness cannot be a health care provider or the attorney in fact.

Powers of attorney may cover only a limited period of time or they may run indefinitely. If a person was planning an extended vacation, for example, he or she could execute a power of attorney covering financial transactions that need to be made during that period alone. On the other hand, a power of attorney may be drafted to run from the date of execution until the death of the principal, or to take effect in the event of the principal's incapacity.

The principal may, but need not, choose a relative to act as attorney in fact. The role is voluntary and no one may be forced to accept it. The person named must be an adult and must be legally able to enter into contracts. An estate planning attorney can provide advice regarding the choice of an attorney in fact and assist with the drafting of a power of attorney that meets the requirements of Nevada law.

Source: State Bar of Nevada, "Power of Attorney Forms", October 24, 2014

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