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What is a Power of Attorney Form?

A power of attorney, also known as a letter of attorney, is used to give another party authorization to act on behalf of someone in affairs relating to legal matters. The person authorized to make decisions is known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact. The party who is authorizing the agent or attorney-in-fact is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The power of attorney form allows the agent or attorney to make financial decisions, gifts of money, health care decisions, or even guardianship decisions. The person who is representing the grantor may be entitled to receive payment for their services as an agent. However, the agent could also be a family member, such as a spouse, adult child, family friend, or other relative.

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What Is A Power of Attorney?



A power of attorney is a form that bestows certain powers bestowed upon an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent.” It enables said agent to make decisions for a principal person who is somehow incapacitated. There are various types of power-of-attorneys, and the laws governing change from state to state. However, here are a few general points.

What does a power of attorney form deal with?

A power of attorney form serves as a legal definition of the powers granted the agent. This can either be authority to deal with a specific issue, such as critical care treatment, or the power to handle all of the principal’s affairs. The former is called a “specific power of attorney” and the latter is called a “general power of attorney.”

Who is generally granted power of attorney?

An agent should be someone the principal trusts with life-altering decisions. This can be anyone, from a spouse or other family member to a trusted personal friend. It is not advisable to award power of attorney to anyone standing to benefit from a principal’s incapacitation. Despite its name, an attorney-in-fact does not need to be a licensed attorney.

What responsibilities does the agent have in upholding the tenets of a general power of attorney?

To ensure the agent adheres to the agreement, he or she must keep complete records of all actions and transactions made on the principal’s behalf. He or she must also verify, at the start of the agreement, that he or she fully understands all the terms outlined and the extent and limits of his or her responsibilities.

What responsibilities are generally assigned the attorney-in-fact?

A durable power of attorney form may assign the agent any number of responsibilities. Common ones include –

·         Management of principal’s financial assets

·         Making critical health care decisions, including the decision to begin, continue or cease medical procedures

·         The making of a financial or other type of gift or donation

·         Guardian election

Does the agent receive compensation?

Ordinarily, yes. The amount of payment is generally determined by the principal and included in the power of attorney document. If for some reason this does not happen, the election of payment amount falls to the court. There is a statute of limitations – the amount issued to the agent may never exceed a certain percentage of the principal’s total property value.

Other tips

For your own protection, it is important that your power of attorney form contain all important details and be written in clear, concise language. This will strengthen the document legally and prevent the agent from misusing his or her power.

The Main Components of a Power of Attorney

main components of a power of attorney


No one likes planning for worst-case scenarios , but it’s a worthwhile task. A power of attorney is a form that passes the power to make life-changing decisions from you to another individual. It’s a way of preparing for disasters such as extreme illness, traumatic or fatal accidents and psychological instability caused by age or mental illness. The content of a POA form varies wildly from situation to situation. However, the basic components are as follows.

Details of involved parties

In this section, you should include the full legal names and addresses of the principle and the agent. The principle is the person giving the power of attorney, the agent, or “attorney in fact” is the person receiving it.


The next thing you need to do is determine what kind of power you are ascribing. There a few basic types of power of attorney you can assign.


This type of agent can perform duties ranging from financial transactions to life-altering medical decisions. When you assign general power of attorney, you are essentially giving someone the right to take over all aspects of your life in the event that you become incapacitated. A general power of attorney should be someone you trust completely.


This type of agent is limited to fulfilling certain responsibilities, which are detailed in the form. Oftentimes a specific power of attorney grants someone the right to manage finances but not medical issues, or vice versa.

Health Care

This agent is specifically responsibly for making healthcare decisions. This is the person entrusted with decisions involving life support, drastic medical procedures, etc.

Durability Clause

This is a common clause in durable power of attorney forms. It stipulates that your chosen agent assumes responsibility in the event that you become incapacitated. The nature of said incapacitation must be detailed elsewhere in the form.

Statement of terms under which power of attorney is assumed

The details of this are more or less up to you. You could will that your POA comes into effect when you go into a coma, suffer other traumatic brain damage, have reached a certain advanced state of degenerative illness, or experienced a psychotic break. Tailor this to suit your personal needs.


Your POA form should be signed and dated by you, the agent to whom powers are being ascribed and a witness. It should also be dated.