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What is an Indiana Power of Attorney?

An Indiana power of attorney is a legal document that provides the authorization for a person, referred to 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. An Indiana POA is most often used for estate planning, but there are other times when it is a useful tool.

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.

IN POA Laws:

An Indiana power of attorney must comply with Title 30, Article 5 of the Indiana Code. This code specifically outlines the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney. It ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. Some of the requirements to create a POA in Indiana include:

  • The POA must be in writing.
  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • The POA must name an attorney-in-fact.
  • The principal must sign the POA in the presence of a notary public.

The principal has the ability to explain in the POA which powers the agent can and cannot exercise on their behalf. The principal also has the legal right to revoke (terminate) the POA, even if it is durable, as long as they are competent. Additionally, according to Chapter 10 of Indiana Code, a POA terminates when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The power of attorney lists a specific date or time it will terminate and that date or time passes.
  • The principal is missing or missing in action.

Why Would You Use an Indiana Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Their age, mental health, or illness. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are dealing with a terminal illness and those who are in perfect health, establish the appropriate power of attorney to have their affairs appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • Someone with a mental illness may need a different power of attorney than someone with a terminal illness.
  • Someone with dependent children may need a different power of attorney than someone without dependent children.

Every person’s needs for a power of attorney is different. There are several power of attorney documents available. Before you choose one, seek legal advice so that you choose the right one for your needs. You should also ask how to revoke a POA in the event it becomes necessary for you to do so. Here are the most commonly used POAs in Indiana.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent broad powers to make decisions on behalf of the principal, including financial decisions.

  • If the principal becomes incapacitated or dies, the POA becomes invalid. The principal also retains the ability to revoke the POA as long as they are competent.

Durable Power of Attorney

An Indiana 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 over the principal if they become incapacitated. The principal may still revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the principal 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 principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority diminishes if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. The principal may also revoke the POA as long as they are competent. Additionally, if the purpose of this power of attorney is fulfilled, the document is terminated.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a medical power of attorney, grants power to the agent to make important healthcare decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • It can be non-durable or durable. However, even if a a healthcare power of attorney is durable, it does not allow the agent to make end-of-life decisions. The principal must complete a living will or advance health care directive while they are of sound mind to record their wishes. The Indiana State Department of Health's Advance Directives Resource Center provides more information about advance directives as well as free forms.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their child 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 is also used if the minor child will live or travel temporarily with another adult.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

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

  • This POA has the flexibility to be either durable or non-durable. It also has the potential to cause long-reaching consequences that are legal in nature. The principal should seek legal advice before signing this document.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, known officially as Form 49357, allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Indiana Department of Revenue as well as discuss tax matters on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney, officially known as Form 01940, allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles on the principal’s behalf.

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