If you take the time to create a Power of Attorney, you want to make sure that it will be effective. There are situations where your document may be rejected, or powerless if you aren’t careful. Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure your POA won’t be powerless:
- Use a state-specific form – Each state has different laws and statutes governing this document. Our state-specific forms are customized for each particular state.
- Make sure you have all signatures and authorizations – Some banks and financial institutions have specific requirements as to who needs to sign the document.
- Keep it up-to-date – If your state has rewritten its laws or your document is more than several years, it may be considered ‘stale’ and may need to be updated.
- Get it witnessed and notarized – Sign your document in front of witnesses, stating that you were competent and signed the document voluntarily. Also make sure to get your document authenticated by a notary public.
A Power of Attorney can be used for any adult individuals, but it needs to be notarized in order to be effective. Within these documents, the principal outlines exactly which powers they would like the agent to have. A principal can also appoint a secondary agent, should their agent be unable or unwilling to perform.
A Durable Power of Attorney also becomes effective immediately upon signing, however it allows the Agent to continue acting on behalf of the Principal even when he or she becomes incapacitated. This type ends automatically when you die, but you can also rescind it, as long you are not incapacitated.
A Power of Attorney is also not like a bilateral agreement, it is more of a unilateral description of what authority is permitted by the principal.