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What is an Alabama Power of Attorney?

An Alabama power of attorney is a legal form that provides the authorization for an individual, referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the individual granting the authority. An Alabama POA is often used during the estate planning process. However, there are other instances where a POA is a useful tool.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving authorization is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.

AL POA Laws:

An Alabama power of attorney must comply with Title 26, Chapter 1A of Alabama's Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The Alabama Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides extensive guidelines for every aspect of the power of attorney process, from how it is written to how it is terminated.

See the link above for an in-depth view of the exact laws and guidelines. However, a few key laws are listed below.

  • An Alabama power of attorney does not authorize an agent to make healthcare decisions for you. Healthcare decisions are covered by other applicable state laws.
  • As the principal, you must be at least 18 years of age.
  • As the principal, you must be of sound mind and understand what you are signing.
  • Your agent is entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses and reasonable compensation you state otherwise under special instruction.
  • The power of attorney form only authorizes one person as your agent. If you wish to have more than one person as your power of attorney, you may name a co-agent or successor agent under Special Instructions.
  • If your attorney-in-fact is unable or becomes unwilling to make decisions on your behalf, the power of attorney will be terminated unless you have named a successor.
  • The POA must be signed by the principal in the presence of a notary public.

As the principal, you can specifically define which powers the agent can and cannot use on your behalf. You can also revoke (terminate) the power of attorney as long as you are competent. This remains true even if the power of attorney is durable. Additionally, termination of the POA occurs when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled or its expiration date passes.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns and the principal did not name a co-agent or successor agent.
  • The principal and agent are married and they file for divorce or annulment and the power of attorney does not specifically state that the fiduciary relationship between the parties will remain in effect.

Why Would You Use an Alabama Power of Attorney Form?

There are several reasons why someone would use an Alabama power of attorney to give someone the ability to make decisions related to their tangible personal property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Their age, mental health concerns, or the diagnosis of an illness. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are terminally ill and those in perfect health, choose the right powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • Someone with a mental illness may need a different power of attorney than someone with a terminal illness.
  • Someone with minor children living in their home may need a different power of attorney than someone who does not have minor children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs can be different. There are several types of powers of attorney available. Before choosing one, you should seek legal advice to ensure you choose the one that best suits your needs. You should also ask about how to revoke the POA in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most common Alabama powers of attorney available.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants the agent wide discretion to make decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • However, this general authority expires if the principal dies, becomes incapacitated, or if the principal revokes the document.

Alabama Durable Power of Attorney Form

An Alabama durable power of attorney form is used to allow an agent to act on the behalf of the principal in specified situations.

  • A durable power of attorney form allows the agent to continue to act even if the principal becomes incapacitated. Alabama Legal Aid's website provides more information on the durable power of attorney forms. The principal can revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited or Special Power of Attorney

A limited or special power of attorney involves the agent being granted specific powers.

  • These powers are often specifically described by the principal. For example, the agent may be granted powers to access only specific checking accounts with specific financial institutions, and forbidden to execute specific tasks such as selling property, or real estate. The POA expires when the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or when the purpose of the POA is fulfilled.

Parental Power of Attorney

A parental power of attorney is popular among parents and guardians who must leave the U.S for a period of time. In Alabama, this period must be less than one year.

  • A parental power of attorney allows an individual trusted by the parent or guardian to make important decisions on behalf of the parent or guardian’s minor children. However, it is best to seek qualified legal advice to make the best decision for you and your children.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known as Form 2848A, allows the agent, perhaps an accountant or other capable person to handle all tax submissions on the principal's behalf with the Alabama Department of Revenue.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney, officially known as form MVT 5-13, allows an agent to handle all affairs in relation to the principal's vehicle with the Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division.

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