- What is a Power of Attorney
- Power of Attorney Forms by State
- Types of Power of Attorney
- How to Write a Power of Attorney
- Power of Attorney Document Sample
- Power of Attorney FAQs
Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal instrument that allows you (known as the Principal) to appoint another person -known as the Agent or Attorney-in-Fact- to make financial decisions for you. There are also Medical Powers of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directives which you can make to name a trusted person to oversee your medical care and make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This can be a far-reaching and long-lasting arrangement depending on the type of document you create.
Power of Attorneys can be modified to allow you to flexibly delegate responsibilities to another person in your absence or incapacity. Alternatively, they can be used to create contingencies for when you reach advanced age or become incapacitated.
Power of Attorney Forms by State
Types of Power of Attorney
There are many different types of Power of Attorney that an individual can take out. This depends on what you, as the Principal, wish to delegate to your appointed agent.
In all cases, Power of Attorney forms allow individuals to carefully plan for their future healthcare or financial needs. They enable the Principal to have peace of mind that all their affairs will be managed responsibly if they are unable to give their agreement in person. The most common POAs are listed below.
General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney permits an Agent to manage all your financial affairs until you become incapacitated or the document is revoked. The appointed Agent may be granted with a variety of different powers to act on behalf of the Principal, such as:
Handling bank accounts
Executing financial transactions
Operating business interests
Purchasing life insurance
Hiring professional assistance
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney, permits your appointed Agent to make legal and business decisions for you if you become disabled, incapacitated, or unable to handle these matters on your own.
While “nondurable” powers of attorney are automatically terminated if the individual who made them loses mental capacity, a Durable Power of Attorney remains effective until it is legally revoked or the principal dies.
The trusted person you name will be legally allowed to take care of important matters on your behalf, similar to those included in a General Power of Attorney, such as paying your bills or managing your investments.
Springing Power of Attorney
A Springing Power of Attorney gives an agent the power to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf, such as those entrusted by durable and general POAs. However, a Springing POA only comes into effect when certain conditions are met.
Although this type of document can entrust the same responsibilities given by other POAs, it is conditional, and it remains inactive until the Principal becomes incapacitated.
Special Power of Attorney
A Special Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an individual to manage a one-off transaction or financial action. With a Special POA, your Attorney-in-Fact will only be able to only manage specific affairs for you for a limited duration.
Medical Power of Attorney
Medical POAs allow your Agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated or unconscious. This allows your wishes regarding your treatment to be respected even if you cannot give your consent due to accident, injury, or illness.
The person you name to take care of these decisions on your behalf is known as your healthcare agent or proxy. These decisions could include the following:
Medical treatment options
Personal care management
Financial Power of Attorney
In the case of any financial Power of Attorney, this authority permits your Agent to perform a wide range of fiscal tasks for you. This can include some or all of these duties:
Managing real estate holdings
Collecting government payments and benefits
Buying and selling stocks and bonds
Opening bank accounts
How to Write a Power of Attorney
Creating a Power of Attorney is a fairly simple process if all parties are in agreement and of sound mind. In many cases, it’s as easy as creating a form and having it signed and notarized (depending on your state’s laws). When writing a POA, simply follow these steps:
Consider the responsibilities you want to delegate: Think very carefully about what your assets are and what will be necessary for your Agent to do.
Decide who will be your Agent(s): This should be someone you trust and who you can confidently grant this authority to manage your finances or affairs. You can choose more than one Agent if you wish.
Choose what powers the Agent(s) will have: You can either grant them control over all your affairs or pick and choose the exact powers you want them to have.
Specify when these powers will begin and end in the future: Normally, Power of Attorney starts as soon as you sign the document, but you can also specify a future date or triggering event for when your Agent can act for you if you wish.
Stipulate if you are appointing any Successor Agents: These individuals will be able to take over if one or more Agents cannot serve for any reason.
Both you and the Agent(s) should sign the document: The signing of the document may need to be officially witnessed, or you may need to visit a notary public or state official before signing to ensure the final document is valid. These requirements vary from state-to-state.
Notarize the signing: To do this, you need to visit a notary public in the state where your document is to take effect. Be aware, however, not every state requires you to perform this step.
Store the document somewhere safe for further use: Your Agent will need to present the completed and signed form whenever they perform one of their appointed duties.
When completed, signed, and notarized, the Agent will then be able to approve transactions, sell a property and handle your assets in your place. In order to do so, they will need to present the approved form when signing a contract on your behalf and must name both you, the Principal, and themselves as Attorney-in-Fact on the form.
Power of Attorney Document Sample
The generic example below shows what a completed Power of Attorney form normally looks like. This document can’t be used across all states and in all circumstances, however using LawDistrict’s template creation tools, you can build a form that is specific to your necessities.
Power of Attorney FAQs
If you’re still uncertain if a Power of Attorney template is right for you, have a read through our FAQs to find out more. The points below better explain the options available and how the process of getting a POA approved works.
Where Can I Get a Power of Attorney Form?
The Power of Attorney form can be acquired either online, from your bank or healthcare provider or from an Attorney-at-Law (although this can incur costs). The type of Power of Attorney form you choose and where you get it ultimately depends on what your necessities are and how and why you wish to appoint a Power of Attorney.
LawDistrict allows you to create a Power of Attorney online for a variety of different purposes. All you need to do is answer a few questions to design a bespoke POA that can respond to your specific needs.
What Is the Difference Between a General Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney?
The main difference between a General Power of Attorney and Durable POA is when they become ineffective. A General POA form only lasts as long as the Principal is still mentally competent to act for themselves as well, whereas a Durable Power of Attorney can continue to remain active even if you become incapacitated or disabled.
Who Can Override a Power of Attorney?
There are a few ways to override a Power of Attorney. First of all, you can simply revoke it, as the Principal retains the right to remove the powers at any time.
If on the other hand, you wish to revoke the Power of Attorney of an already incapacitated family member, you will have to write to the Agent to ask them to formally step down as POA. If they refuse, you may then need to take the matter to court and appoint guardianship before the powers of the Agent become inactive.
When Does Power of Attorney End?
A Power of Attorney always ends when the Principal dies or revokes the document. However, depending on the POA you choose to activate, other factors can end the use of this legal instrument.
You can stipulate in any POA a future date or incident that ends the validity of the document. Additionally, If you have a General Power of Attorney, it cannot be used if you become disabled or incapacitated. In order to extend the validity of your Agent’s powers beyond your future disability or mental incompetence, you will need a Durable POA.