General Power Of Attorney Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of General Power Of Attorney, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is General Power Of Attorney?

(n) General Power Of Attorney is the legal authority given to any person to manage all of his financial and business activities without limiting the scope to any particular transaction or act.

History and Meaning of General Power Of Attorney

A general power of attorney (GPA) is a legal document that gives a person (the agent) the authority to act on behalf of another (the principal) for a broad range of financial and legal matters. The GPA is an essential tool for individuals who may need assistance managing their finances or business affairs because of age, health, or other factors.

The concept of power of attorney can be traced back to ancient Rome when guardians were appointed to manage the affairs of individuals who were unable to do so themselves. Later, in English common law, the legal instrument of power of attorney emerged as a way of allowing agents to act on behalf of their principals when they were unable to do so.

Examples of General Power Of Attorney

  1. A person authorizes their attorney to sell their property, manage their bank accounts, and sign legal documents related to their estate.
  2. An elderly person grants their adult child a GPA to manage their financial affairs, pay their bills, and make healthcare decisions.
  3. A business owner appoints a trusted employee as their GPA to oversee their business interests, sign contracts, and make financial decisions.
  4. A landlord grants a GPA to a property manager to collect rents, sign leases, and manage tenant issues.
  5. An individual gives their attorney a GPA to handle all financial and legal matters while they are traveling overseas.

Legal Terms Similar to General Power Of Attorney

  1. Limited Power of Attorney – a legal document that grants a person the authority to act on behalf of another only for specific purposes or transactions.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney – this type of power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions.
  3. Springing Power of Attorney – a legal document that becomes effective only when a certain event or condition occurs, such as a person becoming incapacitated.