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What is a Connecticut Power of Attorney?

A Connecticut power of attorney is a legal document that provides the authorization for a person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. A Connecticut POA is most often used in the estate planning process. However, there are other instances where the POA is incredibly useful, too.

Quick Reference:

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

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

CT POA Laws:

A Connecticut power of attorney document must conform with Connecticut’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act. It has specific guidelines for drafting a legally enforceable power of attorney. The short form power of attorney highlights a few of the requirements that must be included in all POAs:

  • A power of attorney becomes effective upon the date it is signed unless it involves a contingency (springing) clause.
  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • If the power of attorney becomes effective when the principal becomes incapacitated, it is not up to the attorney-in-fact to determine if the principal is officially incapacitated. In order for the decision to be made official, the attorney-in-fact must have in writing:
  1. A judge that orders the principal incapacitated as described in the power of attorney.
  2. Two independent physicians that rule the principal incapacitated within the contingency clause described in the power of attorney.
  • According to ctlawhelp.org, the POA must be signed by two witnesses and notarized.
  • All powers of attorney established are considered Connecticut durable powers of attorney unless stated otherwise.

The principal has the ability to specifically state which powers the agent can and cannot use on their behalf. They also have the legal right to revoke (terminate) the power of attorney, even if it is durable, as long as they are competent. A Connecticut power of attorney is also terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal is 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 POA does not list a co-agent or successor agent.
  • The court terminates the POA or the agent’s authority.

Why Would You Use a Connecticut Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would want to use a Connecticut power of attorney form to give another individual the power 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 matters handled in certain ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including individuals who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and those who are in perfect health, set-up the appropriate powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and to ensure their wishes are fulfilled.
  • Someone who has a mental illness may need a different power of attorney than someone who has a terminal illness.
  • Someone with minor children may need a different power of attorney than someone who does not have minor children.

While each person’s need for a power of attorney may vary, there are many different ones available. It’s important to choose the right POA for your needs. To do this, you should seek legal advice. This will also give you the opportunity to ask about revoking the document if it becomes necessary to do so. Here are the most commonly used Connecticut powers of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants broad power over all matters on behalf of the principal.

  • Keep in mind that the Connecticut law states that POAs are durable unless they specifically state otherwise. If there is specific language used to make the POA general instead of durable, the POA is revoked if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if the principal revokes the document.

Parental (Minor Children) Power of Attorney

A parental (minor children) power of attorney is popular among parents or guardians who must temporarily leave the U.S.

  • This type of power of attorney allows an individual the parent or guardian trusts to make important decisions on their behalf. It is also used when the child is temporarily residing or traveling with an adult who isn’t their parent or guardian.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is used to allow an agent to act on the behalf of the principal.

  • Connecticut law makes all POAs durable unless otherwise stated. The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated. Ctlawhelp.org provides more information about drafting and using a Connecticut durable power of attorney. The principal may revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney has limited power to whatever the principal specifies.

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have the authority to do other things such as make real estate transactions (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. This POA also terminates once its purpose is fulfilled or if its expiration date passes.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney allows the principal to appoint a healthcare representative to make healthcare or medical decisions on their behalf.

  • Remember that all POAs in Connecticut are durable unless specifically mentioned otherwise. However, even a Connecticut durable power of attorney has some limitations. It does not provide the agent with the ability to make end-of-life decisions for the principal. Rather, the principal needs to complete a living will or an advance healthcare directive while they are still of sound mind so that their wishes are documented. The Connecticut Attorney General's Office provides more information and a free PDF download of an advance healthcare directive as well as the living will laws in the State of Connecticut.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney allows the agent to buy, sell, or manage real estate on the principal's behalf.

  • This type of POA may be durable or limited. It is important to seek legal advice before using this POA.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney grants the agent power of attorney to handle all documents relating to the title and registration of the principal's vehicle.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney is officially known as Form LGL-001

  • This form grants a capable individual, usually a certified accountant or another qualified person, to prepare and submit tax forms on behalf of the principal to the Department of Revenue Services.

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