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What is a Colorado Power of Attorney?

A Colorado power of attorney is a legal form that acts as the authorization for an individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. A Colorado POA is often used for estate planning. However, there other instances where a POA is a useful tool.

CO POA Laws:

A Colorado power of attorney is a form is a standard document that must comply with Title 15-14 of Colorado’s Revised Statutes, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Here are some of the specified provisions under Colorado law:

  1. The principal must sign the POA in front of a notary public.
  2. The principal must be mentally competent at the time the document is created and signed.
  3. As of January 1, 2010, according to Colorado Revised Statutes, all POAs are considered durable unless specifically stated otherwise.
  4. Colorado does not allow for certain "hot powers" (broad powers) to be used. For example, the State of Colorado does not allow POAs to say "authority over all of my personal finances." The principal must specify which hot powers the agent does and does not have. The Colorado Bar defines hot powers as making gifts, creating or changing the right(s) of survivorship, creating or changing a beneficiary designation, delegation of authority under a POA, waiving the principal's right as a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity (including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan), exercising various powers held by the principal in a fiduciary capacity, disclaiming or releasing property or a power of appointment, or exercising powers, rights, or authority as a partner member, or manager of a partnership. If there is no mention of these hot powers, then they are not included in the POA.

A principal has the right to revoke power of attorney, even if it is durable, as long as they are considered competent. Other times when a power of attorney is terminated include:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The POA has fulfilled its need.
  • The expiration date listed within the power of attorney has passed.

Why Would You Use a Colorado Power of Attorney Form?

There are several reasons why someone would use a Colorado power of attorney form to give someone the authority to make decisions related to their tangible personal property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some examples include:

  • Age, mental health reasons, and illnesses. They may want their affairs handled in certain ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are terminally ill and those in perfect health, establish the right powers of attorney to have heir matters appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different type of power of attorney than a person with a terminal illness.
  • A person with dependent children may have the need for a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent the power to act on behalf of the principal.

  • The State of Colorado requires that the principal explicitly explain the ways in which the agent may act on their behalf. For example, whether the agent may make financial decisions on behalf of the principal. The only want that a financial power of attorney can be created is if that wording is specifically used.
  • All POAs in Colorado are considered durable unless otherwise stated. When a general power of attorney is created, the agent loses their authority if the principal becomes incapacitated, if the principal dies, or if the principal revokes the POA.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney gives the agent the power to act in the specified ways even if the principal were to become incapacitated.

  • All Colorado powers of attorney are considered durable unless otherwise stated.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney, also known as a special power of attorney, provides limited authority to the agent to handle certain affairs.

  • Since Colorado requires that principals are very clear in explaining the authority of the agent by explicitly stating hot powers, it would be fair to state that to at least some degree, many Colorado POAs are limited. For example, the agent may be granted access to the principal’s bank accounts to pay bills and expenses. However, the agent may not be granted permission to sell any real property, such as cars, real estate, or personal belongings. If the principal dies, becomes incapacitated, or if the principal revokes the POA, it will no longer be valid.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney grants power to the agent to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf.

  • The agent can make medical decisions on behalf of the principal, but they cannot make end-of-life decisions. The Colorado Health Institute provides an informative web page on how to establish an advance healthcare directive or living will which may be used for those decisions.

Parental Power of Attorney

A parental power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their minor child to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent or guardian may not be present during a medical emergency.

  • This form is generally used if the parent or guardian must leave the country for a period of time. It is also used if the minor is temporarily traveling with or living with another adult.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney allows the principal to designate someone to buy, sell, or manage real estate on their behalf.

  • There are serious legal consequences that could result from allowing another person to make real estate decisions on your behalf. Talk with a lawyer before signing a real estate power of attorney.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, initiated in Colorado by Form DR 0145 allows a capable individual, generally an accountant, to handle all tax preparation and submission needs on the principal’s behalf.

  • It also allows the Colorado Department of Revenue to contact the agent if they have any questions about the principal’s taxes.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney grants the agent the authorization to handle all documents relating to the title and registration of the principal's vehicle with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles.

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