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What is a Georgia Power of Attorney?

A Georgia power of attorney is a legal form that provides 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 individual granting this authority. A Georgia POA is often used during the estate planning process. Yet, there are many other instances where it is a useful tool.

 

Quick Reference:

 

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

 

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

 

GA POA Laws:

Georgia recently revamped their laws over power of attorney documents, including significant specifications to issues with third parties. Effective July 1, 2017, some of the state’s 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:
  • When the POA is the statutory form provided by the Uniform Power of Attorney Act in Georgia.
  • The attorney-in-fact must follow the necessary steps outlined in the new statute, as well as allow the necessary seven 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.

The principal can specifically state which powers the agent can and cannot execute on their behalf. Additionally, the principal has the legal right to revoke (terminate) the power of attorney as long as they are competent. This includes durable powers of attorney. Powers of attorney are also terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is not durable.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns and there is no co-agent or successor agent named.
  • The power of attorney is fulfilled or its expiration date passes.

 

Why Would You Use a Georgia Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would use a Georgia power of attorney to give another person 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 with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the proper powers of attorney to ensure their affairs are handled how they would like them to be and their wishes fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different power of attorney than a person with a terminal illness.
  • A person with minor children may require a different power of attorney than someone who does not have minor children.

 

Each person’s need for a power of attorney can vary. There are several different powers of attorney available. Before choosing one, seek legal advice and ask about the best one for your needs as well as how to revoke it if it becomes necessary. Here are the most common Georgia power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney provides the agent with authority over matters on behalf of the principal.

  • The attorney-in-fact is given responsibility and legal right to handle the affairs on the principal's behalf. However, this is terminated if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if the principal revokes the document.

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 principal were to become disabled or incapacitated. Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services provides a free statutory durable financial power of attorney.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney has specific 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 sell property (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. Additionally, once the purpose of the limited power of attorney is fulfilled, the document terminates.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives specific power to the agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • This power of attorney may be durable or nondurable. If a medical power of attorney is nondurable, it loses its effectiveness if the principal becomes incompetent or incapacitated. If it is durable, the agent can still make medical decisions, but the agent may not make end-of-life decisions. The principal must complete an advance health care directive while they are of sound mind. An advance directive for health care is used to record the principal's wishes for the end of their life. A free PDF is available from the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services.

Guardian of Minor Power of Attorney

A guardian of minor power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their child (who is a minor) to a temporary guardian in the event 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 can also be used if the child is temporarily living with or traveling with an adult who is not their parent or guardian.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

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

  • This POA may be durable or nondurable. It can cause serious legal consequences. Because of this, it is important for the principal to seek legal advice before using it.

Tax Power of Attorney

Initiated by Form RD-1061, this tax power of attorney form allows a capable individual, generally an accountant, to handle all tax preparation and submission needs on the principal's behalf with the Georgia Department of Revenue.

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 with the Georgia Department of Revenue.

  • The official name of this document is Form T-8.

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