Power of Attorney (POA)

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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.
Choose your type of this legal template.
Document Types
Durable Power of Attorney (DPA)
This form assigns another person to manage financial and healthcare matters in the long term.
1.4K downloads
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney
This form is necessary to hand over specific financial or legal tasks on your behalf.
Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA)
MPOA helps principals to assign an entrusted person to make healthcare decisions.
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Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney
This form marks the transfer of decision-making powers regarding a particular vehicle.
Power of Attorney for Child
This document allows parents to give short-term care for their child to another adult.
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Revocation of Power of Attorney
This document changes the person in charge for acting on your behalf for legal issues.
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Paper named "Power of Attorney", make and female shaking hands and standing by the table with a computer

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 a general power of attorney form:

  • Principal — The person who creates the power of attorney. Principals can limit what their agents can do or revoke their POA forms 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 sample more legitimate.

When To Use a 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 power of attorney template.

Financial Affairs

After an accident or sickness, people tend to worry about their money. If you have a standard power of attorney form 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 form PDF.

Medical Affairs

A medical power of attorney template can be used to designate someone to manage your legal and financial concerns if you become unable to do so. This power of attorney example 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. This online power of attorney form 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 all the POA paperwork 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.

Types of Power of Attorney Forms

If you have a durable power of attorney template, 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 right POA template out of other POA forms.

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 forms 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 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 this printable 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 POA template 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 POA template.

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 blank power of attorney form can be used to create a legal power of attorney, granting certain rights to a named agent.

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).

Insight

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.

2. Select Your Power of Attorney

After you have chosen your agent, select and download power of attorney form 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.

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. 

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. 

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 Form

Power of Attorney

You may obtain a power of attorney template at your convenience. A general 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Warning

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. 

State Law

US state legislation specifies every aspect of creating, utilizing, and revocating power of attorney documents. Also, the relationship between the principal and the agent is established and regulated by state laws. 

Some variations in state laws on powers of attorney include:

  • Capacity — To give a power of attorney, a principal must be of sound mind and understand the consequences of what he or she is doing. However, capacity may be defined differently depending on the state.

  • Various powers — State laws may limit how much power can be given to someone with a power of attorney.

  • Notarization — The principal must sign and have witnessed or notarized a prepared power of attorney sample. Requirements for notarizing or witnessing depend on the state.

  • Revocation — A power of attorney form may expire or be revoked by the principal, depending on the type. Some are revoked when the principal dies either on a specific date or when a special event occurs, depending on state law.

  • Agent responsibilities — State laws may tell agents or attorneys-in-fact to look out for the principal’s best interests and keep accurate records of all transactions.

Find the legislation in some US states outlining specific features of general POA forms:

State Law
California

California Probate Code, Sections 4000-4545. 

State Law
Illinois

According to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act, a power of attorney example in Illinois must include a notice to the principal that highlights the significance and the legal implications of the document.

The notice is similar to a disclaimer in common legal contracts that stresses the consequences of the decision made by the parties.

State Law
Michigan

A power of attorney in Michigan is only considered valid when the principal is of sound mind at its execution. It should also align with the rules defined in the Michigan Compiled Laws

State Law
Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania Uniform Power of Attorney Act, a power of attorney in Pennsylvania is considered valid once it is legally documented, signed, witnessed, and notarized.

Also Read

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I choose an attorney-in-fact?

First and foremost, you should trust the individual chosen as an agent. The core responsibilities that agents take are related to sensitive financial and legal matters of the principal. Hence, agents can be adult family members or non-relatives to whom the principal is related.

Does a power of attorney have to be notarized?

The notarization of POA forms is mandatory only in some US states. However, you can always notarize your ready-made power of attorney form to preserve the formality and confidence in resolving your legal issue.

Can a power of attorney be changed without consent?

A power of attorney form cannot be changed without the permission of the person who signed it in the first place. A POA can only be changed or revoked by the principal. If the power of attorney document is amended without the principal’s permission through fraud, forgery, or other illegal means, the person who initiated the change could be charged with a crime.