Start your free Power of Attorney (POA) form now to appoint an agent to act on your behalf on financial or medical issues.
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.
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.
This can be through an all-encompassing Durable Power of Attorney, which allows your appointed Agent to make medical or financial decisions for you if you become disabled or incapacitated. Or, you can also take out a General Power of Attorney which permits the Agent to manage all your financial affairs until you become incapacitated or the document is revoked.
Alternatively, you can get your Attorney-in-Fact to only manage specific affairs for you with a Special Power of Attorney. This allows you to appoint an individual to manage a one-off transaction or financial action.
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
Medical POAs on the other hand 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.
In all cases, Power of Attorney forms allow individuals to carefully plan for their future healthcare or financial needs. They allow 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.
How to Get Power of Attorney
Getting 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). In creating 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 financial or medical 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, depending on your state’s requirements.
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 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 free and 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.
How to Sign as Power of Attorney?
In order to sign your Power of Attorney, you will first need to visit a notary public or state official to notarize your document. These requirements vary from state-to-state. Be aware, in some states you may need to have the signing witnessed in order for the final POA to be valid.
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.