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 simple POA will identify the following basic elements:
- Agent(s): a responsible and trustworthy person acting on your behalf.
- Principal: person assisted with personal, business, or legal matters.
- Grant of Authority: general or specific authority to take certain actions.
- Effective Date: when the the form effectively begins, usually immediately.
- Signatures: the Principal and a Notary must sign the document.
Yes, there are four types of POA forms.
- General: A general Power of Attorney form allows your representative to manage all of your property-based and financial affairs. This type of POA grants them general authority.
-Specific/Limited: A specific Power of Attorney form limits your representative s responsibilities to certain types of decisions. You can choose to allow someone to only make decisions in relation to business, for example.
- Ordinary: An ordinary Power of Attorney is only valid while you, the principal, are capable of making decisions. This type of POA becomes invalid in the event that you become incapacitated.
- Durable: An enduring Power of Attorney is when the contract continues even if you, the principal, become incapacitated.
A Power of Attorney is different than an Advance Healthcare Directive because an Advance Healthcare Directive only allows another individual to make healthcare decisions on a principal s behalf. It talks about specific circumstances under which a principal would like someone else to be their agent for health and allows a principal to define the types of authority they would like the agent to have. A Power of Attorney is similar, but is used only for financial decisions.