Imagine you’re incapacitated or cannot be physically present in an essential event. A person who will represent you needs to get the legal power to make decisions about your affairs. This is where you need a power of attorney.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants one or more persons the power to act on your behalf or as your agent and make important decisions regarding property, finances, medical care, investments, or other areas that are necessary. The individual that grants the POA is often referred to as a principal. The person who has legal status is an agent or an attorney-in-fact.
In spite of the name, the agent does not have to be a lawyer or a legal professional. An agent can be a spouse, family member, or trusted friend. The power of attorney gives the agent written authorization to act and make decisions regarding specific aspects of the principal’s life. The authority of the agent can be general, limited, or special and the duration of this authority varies.
There are many reasons and varied circumstances why someone may choose to grant a power of attorney to their agent, and there are different types of power of attorney forms to consider using. Many states have an official POA document that is in accordance with state government laws. Let’s explore who should have a power of attorney, what powers you can grant to your agent, and how you can go about getting a power of attorney in a few simple steps.
Anyone who wants to authorize another person to legally act or make decisions on his or her behalf should have a power of attorney agreement.
The capabilities you give to your agent or the limits you place on their power to act depends on you, and you can have them apply to specific areas in you estate such as:
This relates to personal finance and your financial affairs. If you decide to grant permission to your attorney-in-fact to act for you for financial purposes, they can take over your financial responsibilities, authorize payments on your behalf, transfer funds, and write and cash checks.
Granting this power to your agent can include accessing all your savings, current (checking) accounts, investment accounts, or account statements at your banking institution. It is possible to limit your agent’s power in this situation by restricting access to some accounts or putting a limit on depositing checks or how much money they can spend and transfer.
Other types of powers you can grant to your agent include:
There are many other types of powers you can grant to your agent, and the powers and restrictions you choose depend on you as long as they adhere to state law.
Whether you own the business or as simply a shareholder, you can grant permissions to your attorney-in-fact to run your business or act in your place as a shareholder with limitations as you see fit. Typically, they can make decisions about the investments your business makes, how much is invested in your business, any debts or business expenses, your employees, represent you in meetings, and in legal matters when necessary.
To retain some control, you can place limitations on whether or not the agent can have their vote counted for you as a shareholder, how much money they can invest in the business, or whether or not they can hire or fire employees as they see fit.
The two main kinds of POA are the ordinary power of attorney and the durable power of attorney.
An ordinary power of attorney (OPA) is a power of attorney by which the principal grants the agent the authority to help them make important decisions or take such decisions and actions on their behalf.
Unlike a durable POA, an ordinary power of attorney is only valid as long as the principal is mentally capable of making their own decisions, i.e., no incapacitation.
A durable power of attorney (DPOA) remains valid even when the principal becomes incapacitated. The validity will end once the principal revokes it, or the agent does. A durable POA is also an enduring power of attorney.
There are other types of POAs that you can use. Some of them are:
Follow the next steps to get power of attorney:
Decide what type of power of attorney you want to make – The most important first step is deciding the kind of power of attorney you want to grant your attorney-in-fact. Will it be durable or springing? You should consider this carefully.
Choose your agent or attorney-in-fact – As earlier stated, making sure your agent is somebody you trust without hesitation is important. It is necessary that the agent you choose meets the criteria specified by your state’s laws. Generally, the agent must be 18 years or older and cannot be your doctor or other health care provider.
Decide what powers and limitations you want your agent to have – It is necessary that your agent’s powers reach only as far as you wish. You should set limitations on how much authority you grant them as is suitable for you.
Most states have a standard POA form and once you have decided on the type of POA you want, you should get a copy of the relevant form. You can also check out this power of attorney letter template in PDF format to get started.
This includes signing and witnessing the form in accordance with state law.
When it comes to writing a power of attorney contract, it’s recommended to follow all the following steps:
Read carefully the power of attorney form to learn which details you need to fill in.
Make sure your POA template is state-specific and follows the requirements of your current state.
Clearly set out the duration you want the agent to act for the other person.
You should sign the POA in accordance with your state’s laws. This may either require you to have a notary public or a notary public and up to two witnesses sign your form.
You can use this free power of attorney template to give you a good grasp of what your power of attorney form should contain.
When you use this power of attorney form PDF, you assume all responsibility and liability. Lawrina retains no legal responsibility for the legal document’s accuracy, reliability, or functionality.
The unprofessional use of this legal form or other templates on this website could result in direct or indirect losses or damages. By downloading, printing, or using this agreement, you accept all liability for any loss or damage you may suffer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. In most states, the power of attorney form needs to be notarized. The purpose of this is to authenticate the identity of the person who is signing. Notarization is carried out by a notary public who will take steps to ensure the validity of signatures on the form. Where some states require your form to be signed by a notary public, others require it to be signed by up to two witnesses and/or a notary public.
The person you choose to be your attorney-in-fact, or agent should be eligible to be an agent per the laws of your state. In most states, this person must be 18 or over (in some states, this age limit is higher). Aside from meeting state laws, you should also ensure the person you make your agent is somebody you trust, and somebody who has your best interests at heart and will carry out the decisions you make without hesitation, even when the people around him don’t agree.
To revoke a power of attorney, the principal can create a revocation of power of attorney document or create a new power of attorney that indicates the initial one as revoked.