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What Is a Hawaii Power of Attorney?

A Hawaii 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 Hawaii POA is a tool that is most often used in estate planning, but there are other times when a POA is also useful.

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 the attorney-in-fact.

HI POA Laws:

A Hawaii power of attorney is a form that complies with the laws set in place under Hawaii’s statutes known as the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The state provides a copy of the form here. A full list of the laws applicable to a Hawaii power of attorney is available to give both agents and principals a full scope of the applicable laws and limitations of a power of attorney.

According to Act 22 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes enacted in 2014, if the principal signs the POA in front of a notary public, it is considered valid. With that being said, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's POA brochure states that many organizations, including the Social Security Administration, are not obligated to accept any type of power of attorney even those written according to Hawaii Revised Statutes.

The principal must be considered a competent adult so that they understand what they are signing. The principal also has the ability to specifically outline which powers the agent may and may not use. The principal may also revoke the document as long as they are considered competent and the principal orally tells the agent they are revoking the document or if the principal destroys the POA. Additionally, a POA may be terminated when:

  • The principal is declared incompetent or incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The principal dies.
  • The purpose of the POA is fulfilled and the expiration date within the document has passed.
  • The POA is for a minor child and one year passes since the document was executed.

Why Would You Use a Hawaii Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would use a Hawaii 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 of those reasons includings:

  • Age, mental health reasons, and illnesses. 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, establish the right powers of attorney to ensure their matters are appropriately handled and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different type of power of attorney than a person who has a terminal illness.
  • A person with dependent children may need a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs may vary depending on their circumstances. Thankfully, there are several types of power of attorney documents. Before you decide to use a power of attorney, you should seek legal advice. Ask about the best power of attorney to suit your needs as well as how to revoke the document should it become necessary. Here are the most common POAs.

General Power of Attorney

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

  • The attorney-in-fact is given the responsibility, and the legal right, to handle whatever it is that the principal has stated they may do. However this authorization would terminate if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if the principal revokes it.

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 even if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney allows the agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney is also known as a special power of attorney. It 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 sell property (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal dies, becomes incapacitated, or is revoked by the principal.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their minor child to another adult when the parent or guardian is not present.

  • This form is generally used if the parent or guardian must leave the country for a period of time or if the minor child is traveling with another adult. In Hawaii, this type of POA cannot be used for longer than one year.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

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

  • Because of the potential ramifications that may be involved, seek legal advice before using this power of attorney.

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

Initiated by Form N-848, a 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.

  • The agent may also communicate with the Department of Taxation on behalf of the principal.

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