Signing your name to any piece of paper binds you to obey the law. Signing over Power of Attorney (POA) requires your choosing of specific delegations and may consist of as little as making health care decisions if you are not able to make decisions or speak for yourself, or it can be as much as being responsible for a person's financial decisions, bills, etc. It can be a great responsibility to be POA for an elderly person.
Choosing a person to be your POA requires your mental competancy and a great deal of trust for that person handling your responsibilities and making reasonable decisions in your behalf, whether it be for health care or finances. If giving your POA responsibility for your finances, the POA has access to your bank accounts, charge accounts, etc. This is a good for a person that can be trusted to be your POA; however, it can be devastating if your POA takes advantage of this situation.
POA is often given to a family member rather than a non-family member. Taking advantage of POA responsibilities is illegal and called Financial Exploitation. Sadly enough, this is frequently happening to elderly people in our community. Please, when giving POA, think of the responsibilities being given, and who you are giving these responsibilities to!