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.
Power of attorney, also referred to as a POA, is a legal document that allows a person (principal) to choose someone else (agent or attorney-in-fact) to represent their financial, medical, tax, vehicle, parental, or any other needs selected. The document does not need an attorney to create (although it is always advised that a person seek legal counsel) and after completion, depending on the State, signatures need to be witnessed by at least two (2) people or by a notary public (preferred).
The powers that you can grant your attorney-in-fact include:
- Real Estate: To buy, sell, rent, or otherwise manage residential, commercial, and personal real estate.
- Business: To invest, trade, and manage any and all business transactions and decisions, as well as handle any claim or litigation matters.
- Finance: To control banking, tax, and government and retirement transactions, as well as living trust and estate decisions. Financial powers also allows your representative to control personal insurance policies and to continue donating to any charities in your stead.
- Family: To purchase gifts, employ professionals, and to buy, sell or trade any of your personal property.
- General Authority: This grants your personal attorney the authority to make any decisions that you would be able to if you were personally present.
This document can be used if someone is looking to appoint an agent to make financial decisions for them right now, or if someone would like to set up a document that is ready to go in case of incapacity. In this document, the principal or their representative will be able to enter pertinent identifying details about the parties. The person filling out the document will also be asked a series of questions to define exactly what types of authority the principal wants to give the agent.