Advice for Durable Power of Attorney Document Templates
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Durable powers of attorney give a person a broad range of authority to act on behalf of another person. Depending on which state, and what caveats are included, they may also allow another person to make health care decisions for a person.
What You’ll Find Here:
- What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
- What Powers can be Granted When Using Durable Powers of Attorney?
- Can a Durable Power of Attorney be Terminated?
- Important Considerations When Using a Durable Power of Attorney
- Helpful Resources
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney (POA) is granted to an agent (attorney in fact) to act on behalf of another person. This legal document allows a person to act for another person as if the person were able to take action on their own. Subject only to limitations which may be spelled out in the durable power of attorney, the agent may buy and sell real estate, stocks and bonds, make tax decisions, file lawsuits on behalf of the maker, and a variety of other functions.
A durable power of attorney must be created when the maker (the person giving authority) is of sound mind. Unlike a general power of attorney, the durable power of attorney does remain in full force and effect even if the maker should become mentally incapable of making decisions.
What Powers can be Granted When Using Durable Powers of Attorney?
The maker of a durable power of attorney may grant their attorney in fact as much or as little authority as they elect. They also have the power (at the time of creation) to limit the use of a durable power of attorney in certain situations.
At all times, the agent (or attorney in fact) must acknowledge through their signature they are acting on behalf of the maker. The way this is done is when they are signing documents they will sign as “attorney in fact” or by stating “under POA”.
An example of this would be John Smith is the maker and Joe Black is the attorney in fact. The signature on a check, or other transaction would be:
John Smith by Joseph Black POA (or attorney in fact)
Can a Durable Power of Attorney be Terminated?
As long as the maker of the durable power of attorney is of sound mental health, they are able to revoke a durable power of attorney or assign the authority to another person if they choose.
Important Considerations When Using a Durable Power of Attorney
When using a durable power of attorney template, it is important to keep some of the following in mind:
- List all restrictions — if the attorney in fact is not authorized to make medical decisions, include this fact when customizing a durable power of attorney template. Any and all restrictions should be listed clearly.
- Date of effect — if there are certain events which will result in the attorney in fact taking over, these should be specified. If there is a specific date when the POA goes into effect and an expiration date, these should be specified.
- Death information — a durable power of attorney remains in effect unless the attorney in fact has been notified of the maker’s death. This is important because otherwise there could be financial repercussions for the POA.
It is always a good idea to have any legal document reviewed by a lawyer. While a durable power of attorney template is an excellent option, you still will want to verify the document complies with state rules and regulations.
- Understanding and Using Powers of Attorney
- Durable Power of Attorney
- The Durable Power of Attorney: Your Most Important Estate Planning Document
Signature Requirements for Durable Powers of Attorney
Every state in the United States requires the principal (the maker) to sign the power of attorney after it has been customized and requires the document be notarized. In addition, many states still require there be two witnesses who may also have to appear before the notary. Typically, the person who is being appointed as agent should also be present to “accept” their appointment. It is important to find out which laws will govern since some stats do not require a witness or agent signature on these documents.
Currently, there are no states which allow for electronic signatures on power of attorney appointments. However, there are many documents which are fully valid with E-Sign features. For those instances, you should consider a free trial of Nitro today.