Power of Attorney (POA)

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Updated Jul 20, 2023
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A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone (attorney-in-fact or agent) the right to act on behalf of another person (principal). It lets the agent stand in for the principal in court or handle the principal’s assets, money, investments, and health care. Create a legit Power of Attorney document and get the PDF copy universal for your various needs.
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Template Description

Paper named "Power of Attorney", make and female shaking hands and standing by the table with a computer

By filling out this power of attorney template, a person (the principal) permits another person (the attorney-in-fact) to act on his or her behalf. A POA template can be changed to fit the needs of the principal and should be looked over carefully to make sure that it follows local laws. 

A template for a power of attorney generally consists of the following information:

  • Identification of the parties;

  • Scope of authority;

  • Duration of authority;

  • Termination of legal representation;

  • Signatures.

What Is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone the right to act on behalf of another person. It lets the attorney-in-fact stand in for the principal in court or handle the principal’s assets, money, investments, and health care. The person who gives authority is called a principal, giver, or grantor. The person who has been granted the power is an agent. 

Parties of the Power of Attorney

The following are parties to the power of attorney document:

  • Principal — The person who creates the power of attorney, giving the agent power, is called the principal. Principals can limit what their agents can do or revoke their powers of attorney legally.

  • Agent — “Power of attorney” means that someone has been permitted to act on behalf of someone else as an agent. Sometimes, the agent may also be called an “attorney-in-fact.” Remember that a person with the title “attorney-in-fact” is not necessarily an actual lawyer.

Key Terms

  • Power of attorney: A legal instrument that authorizes another person to take legal action on the principal’s behalf.

  • Agent or attorney-in-fact: The person who has been delegated authority to make decisions on behalf of another. 

  • Principal: The person who empowers someone to take his or her place under certain conditions.

  • Durable power of attorney: A power of attorney that continues to be effective even if the principal loses capacity.

  • General power of attorney: A power of attorney that allows the agent to make financial and health care choices for the principal without the principal’s consent.

  • Limited power of attorney: A power of attorney that gives the agent the right only to do certain things for the principal (e.g., to sell a specific piece of property).

  • Springing power of attorney: A power of attorney that only works once something happens, such as the principal’s incapacity.

  • Capacity: The ability to make legal decisions and sign legal documents.

  • Revocation: The act of putting an end to the power of attorney.

  • Notarization: The witness and signature of a notary public to make a power of attorney more legitimate.

Who Should Have a Power of Attorney Form?

A person of sound mind can choose anyone as a POA and fill out a POA template. When it comes to choosing a POA, a principal can select a partner, close family member, trusted friend, or a lawyer.

Absence and incapacity are the most common reasons to create a power of attorney. Using a free power of attorney template to create a power of attorney could be helpful in the following situations:

  • If you spend a lot of time traveling

  • If there is always risk on the job

  • If you just found out that you might have a fatal illness

  • To ensure that your business or land is handled when you can’t be there

  • To care for your children if you die

  • To name someone specific to run your business

  • To name someone to maintain the standards of your house, company, or personal life

  • To name an official guardian when you retire

Why Have the Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is an integral part of an effective estate plan. Without one, you risk having legal issues. Following are just a few of the times a person might need to use a POA template.

Financial Affairs

After an accident or sickness, people tend to worry about their money. If you have a POA template in place, however, you may relax knowing that your power of attorney agent can manage your funds without your involvement. Your agent will manage payments and other financial responsibilities as granted in the power of attorney.

Medical Affairs

A free power of attorney template can be used to designate someone to manage your legal and financial concerns if you become unable to do so. The power of attorney authorizes someone else to make healthcare choices for the principal. A limited health care power of attorney is one option. 

Other Instances

Completing a power of attorney template lets you pick who will manage your funds if you can’t. A POA template also lets you choose a backup financial manager if your initial choice is unavailable. 

There are many potentially critical legal matters that a person might need help managing. If you appoint someone power of attorney over your affairs, they may act in your place in certain legal scenarios. The agent may sign papers and even go to court for you. You can also use a POA template to avoid the cost and trouble of having a guardian chosen by the court if the need arises. Because of the importance of the power of attorney, be sure to select your power of attorney template carefully.

What Are the Different Types of Power of Attorney Forms?

If you have a durable power of attorney, your family, assets, and health care will be taken care of. Knowing about the different kinds of power of attorney can help you choose the POA template that fits your needs.

Ordinary Power of Attorney

Granting someone ordinary power of attorney allows that person to administer your financial affairs. The agent will have full or limited control based on the terms of the power of attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney

Many different kinds of POA templates are considered durable. These are used to protect people who might not be able to care for themselves in the future. Long-term power of attorney grants the agent authority after the principal loses legal capacity.

Depending on your state’s rules, you may not need to tell your agent about your durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is revoked when the principal dies. The principal can also terminate a durable power of attorney if he or she is competent by filing a power of attorney revocation form.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants the agent full authority to act on behalf of the principal. The agent may sign legal documents, handle finances, and make business decisions under a general power of attorney.

Special Power of Attorney

The term “special power of attorney” refers to the authority one person gives to another to make decisions on his or her behalf. Special powers of attorney have fewer options. A principal can give someone a specific power of attorney just to make medical choices or to sell a property.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing (or conditional) power of attorney occurs when a condition (typically incapacity) occurs. If a principal dies or becomes handicapped, a power of attorney contract may terminate unless certain conditions are given. When deployed, military personnel can create a “springing power of attorney.”

How To Get a Power of Attorney

An attorney can provide this legal paperwork. Lawyers in the US know the local requirements and can personalize the process to help each individual reach his or her goals. A POA template can be used to create a legal power of attorney, granting certain rights to a named agent.

Step 1 — Choose an Agent

State law will specify that the agent:

  • Depending on state law, must be at least 18 years old; and
  • Cannot serve as the principal’s primary care provider (regular doctor).

Also look for the following qualities in an agent:

  • Someone who can be trusted to look out for your needs;

  • Someone who can make tough choices;

  • Someone who can be faithful to your requests regardless of the opinions of others; and

  • Someone who lives close to you, as the agent, may need to be present for many weeks or months to take care of your business.

Step 2 — Select Your Power of Attorney

After you have chosen your agent, select a power of attorney template that is most relevant to your situation. Based on your needs, choose ordinary, durable, general, special, springing, or some combination of these. You may decide to name more than one agent, each for a different power, so be sure to consider your choices carefully. Ensure that the power of attorney template you chose has all the necessary sections completed before signing.

Step 3 — Signing Requirements

A power of attorney can be created in different ways, depending on the purpose. POA forms must be written and signed. A lawyer’s signature is not required. Use the following steps for signing power of attorney documents:

  • Bring proof of identity and POA forms — Bring the POA forms to be signed during the signing meeting. Each party will need to bring proper identification to prove that he or she is the agent or the principal named on the POA form. A valid passport or driver’s license is generally required. 

  • Use the proper format — Prior to the signing meeting, find the preferred POA template format for the type of power of attorney needed.

  • Power of attorney signing — Fill out the signature line with the principal’s full legal name. The full legal name of the attorney-in-fact should appear underneath that of the principal. 

Step 4 — Holding and Accessing Original Copies

Banks and doctors will only recognize an agent’s power to act when they are presented with the original power of attorney document. Therefore, it is important to keep track of the signed power of attorney. Deliver signed copies to each nominated agent and a copy of your healthcare power of attorney to your healthcare provider. An attorney may be able to help with this. 

Step 5 — Canceling Power of Attorney

A principal can cancel a power of attorney at any time, as long as he or she has the mental capacity. The power of attorney must be canceled in writing, and any financial or other institutions that may have relied on it must be informed. Also inform the agent in writing that you are taking away the power to act on your behalf.

How To Write a Power of Attorney Contract

You may obtain a power of attorney template at your convenience. A free power of attorney template is available for download at Lawrina. The templates are legally compliant with state laws. Keep in mind that some states require notarization for the principal’s signature. Witness signatures may also need to be notarized. Following are tips for writing your power of attorney contract.

Read the Power of Attorney Form

Carefully read the whole POA template. Pay attention to the details and ensure that you fully understand the terms used. Check that the names and addresses of the principal (the person giving the power of attorney) and the agent (the person receiving the power of attorney or the “attorney-in-fact”) are correct.

Check for details in the power of attorney template that describe the agent’s power and any limits to that power. Before signing, know your rights and duties as the principal or the agent.

Make It State-Specific

The first step is to choose the correct form for your state. Powers of attorney may be used differently in various states. A state-specific form satisfies all legal criteria for use in your state. The POA forms for your state will include the rules and regulations specific to your state. The most appropriate power of attorney template will cover the principal’s needs as state law requires.

Set Duration

Limit the use of a power of attorney with language that only works for a certain amount of time. This depends on the type of power of attorney and its duration. A principal can end a power of attorney in many ways, including by setting a certain date or action that will end it.

When To Use a Power of Attorney

If you become sick or hurt, you might not be able to take care of yourself. Because of this, it helps to know what powers of attorney are and when to use them. With these powers in place, you can know that your family’s needs will be taken care of. There are certain situations when a person may consider using a power of attorney template to create a power of attorney and other times when a POA is not needed.

Common Use Cases

Before you give someone the power to make decisions for you, you should know when the agent you choose will have to do so. Unfortunately, many disagreements can arise because people don’t know what rights a power of attorney gives. The following typical scenarios may help you decide who to give power of attorney to:

  • You may give a trusted person medical power of attorney in case you become incapacitated.

  • A POA template can help you give power of attorney to someone in case you can’t manage your finances.

  • A power of attorney may let someone else operate your business or handle your money if you are unable to do so.

  • POAs can authorize agents to buy and sell real estate, sign contracts, and handle other formalities on the principal’s behalf.

  • Service personnel can use a power of attorney to entrust their finances to someone else while they are deployed.

When Not To Use the Power of Attorney

Although a power of attorney template is flexible and valuable for creating a legal instrument, there are some situations that require more thought or more documentation, such as the following:

  • Only give power of attorney to someone you completely trust to use power of attorney correctly.

  • Only utilize a power of attorney template if you are sure about the powers you wish to delegate.

  • A power of attorney template may only be one of many legal documents needed for more complex legal scenarios, such as estate planning or commercial operations.

Legal Disclaimer

Please note that Lawrina does not provide any legal services. The information on Lawrina’s Site and its downloadable content, including legal articles and templates, shall not be considered legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, and up-to-date. If you require legal advice on your issue, we recommend you contact a qualified attorney licensed in your state. You personally assume full responsibility for any consequences, damages, and costs associated with your use of any content of Lawrina Services available on Lawrina’s Site. 

By using Lawrina’s Site you agree with mentioned above and give your irrevocable consent to comply with and to be bound by the provisions of Lawrina Service terms.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does a power of attorney have to be notarized?

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.

How should I choose an attorney-in-fact?

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.

How do I revoke the power of attorney?

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.