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What is a Georgia Power of Attorney?

The power of attorney form is a document that officially grants an individual power over another’s finances, health care, business, and other affairs should they become unable to do so on their own. A power of attorney generally deals with the grantor allowing their agent to make financial decisions, financial gifts, grant guardianship, or make healthcare decisions on their behalf, and can also extend to parental responsibilities, and business affairs.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission: the principal, donor, or grantor

The person receiving authorization: the agent, or attorney-in-fact

State Specific:

Georgia recently revamped their laws over power of attorney documents, including significant specifications to issues with third parties. Current Georgia law does not force third parties, such as doctors, or financial institution to adhere to power of attorney laws. Effective July 1, 2017, some of the states new laws include:

  • An attorney-in-fact can force a third party to accept a power of attorney under certain circumstances. Some of those circumstances include:
        • The power of attorney form must be the statutory form or one that substantially reflects the statutory form.
        • The attorney-in-fact must follow the necessary steps outlined in the new statute, as well as allow the necessary 7 business day waiting period that third parties have to respond.
  • Even if all necessary steps are followed by the attorney-in-fact, third parties may still refuse to accept a power of attorney.
  • A power of attorney form must be signed in a particular manner;
        • The principal and one or more witnesses must sign the document in the presence of a notary public. The principal, the witness(es), and the notary must all be in one another’s presence when the document is signed.

Why Would You Use a Georgia Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why an individual would use a Georgia power of attorney. Sometimes a person who is elderly, mentally ill, or of failing health may need someone to handle their affairs. Elderly individuals who may suffer from Alzheimers or dementia and may no longer be able to handle affairs such as paying bills, or buying or selling property.

A power of attorney form is not only for the sick, or elderly. Power of attorney forms are recommended for the perfectly healthy as well. There are multiple reasons why one would want their agent to handle their affairs, and one of those is business. If the grantor owns a business, then it is important that the agent have the power to run, and execute important tasks that involve the company, such as paying employees or vendors. However, as with all power of attorney forms, it is imperative that you clearly state which powers your agent does and does not have. If you do not want your agent to have the power to fire or hire employees, then you must clearly state this in your document.

No one knows what will happen tomorrow, and it is always best to be well prepared in the event of an accident. No matter the situation, one individual’s power of attorney needs will vary from the next. Accordingly, there are many types of power of attorney. Here are some of the most commonly used in Georgia:

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants a single individual to handle all financial matters on behalf of the grantor. The attorney-in-fact is given responsibility, and legal right to handle all affairs on the grantors behalf. However this authorization would become null and void should the principal become incapacitated or were to pass away.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney. The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues if the grantor were to become disabled or incapacitated.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney has limited power to whatever the grantor specifies. In many cases, an agent will have power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have authority to do other things such as sell property (depending on what the grantor decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority diminishes if the grantor dies.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also known as an advance directive for health care, grants power to the agent to make medical or health decisions on the grantor’s behalf when he or she cannot make healthcare decisions on his or her own. This is commonly used by individuals who are terminally ill, elderly, or for those who may work a high-risk job such as a commercial fisherman, or a logger.

Guardian of Minor Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney allows a parent to grant decision-making rights over their child (who is a minor) to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent may not be present during a medical emergency. This form is generally used if the parent must leave the country for a period of time.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

This allows the grantor to designate someone to buy, sell, or manage property on his or her behalf.

Tax Power of Attorney

Initiated by Form RD-1061, this power of attorney form allows a capable individual, generally an accountant, to handle all tax preparation and submission needs on the grantors behalf.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

This type of power of attorney grants the agent power of attorney to handle all documents relating to the title and registration of the of the grantors vehicle.

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