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What is a Kentucky Power of Attorney?

A Kentucky power of attorney is a legal document that provides authorization for a person, referred to as an 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 Kentucky POA is a tool often used for estate planning. However, it is often a useful tool in other instances.

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.

KY POA Laws:

A Kentucky power of attorney document must comply with the Kentucky Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which is found in Chapter 457 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS). This act 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 include:

  • The principal and agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • If more than one agent is appointed, all decisions must be unanimous in nature.
  • The principal must sign the POA in the presence of two disinterested witnesses or in the presence of a notary public.
  • All POAs are durable unless expressly stated otherwise.

It is also important to note that as of 2018 that Kentucky's adoption of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act requires the agent(s) to keep records for all monies received and disbursed on behalf of the principal. The adoption also created a time limit third-parties must follow if they wish to reject the POA as well as a list of reasons for which a POA may be rejected.

The principal has the right to specifically state which powers the agent may or may not exercise. The principal has the legal power to revoke (terminate) the power of attorney provided that they are competent. This includes a durable power of attorney. Additionally, the power of attorney is terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapaciated and the POA expressly states that it is not durable.
  • The court appoints a conservator, limited conservator, limited guardian, guardian, or other guardian or fiduciary for the principal or their estate and the court does not expressly state that the POA shall remain in effect.
  • The POA terminates because its purpose is fulfilled or the expiration date within the document passes.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns.
  • The principal and agent are married and the marriage is dissolved or annulled or the parties file for legal separation and the POA does not specifically state that it shall remain in effect.

Why Would You Use a Kentucky Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Age, mental health concerns, and illness. They may want their matters handled in certain ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the appropriate power of attorney to ensure their affairs are handled in they want they would like and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person diagnosed with a mental illness may need a different power of attorney than a person diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • A person who has dependent children may need a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

Every person’s need for a power of attorney is different. While there are several different powers of attorney to choose from, you should seek legal advice before making a decision. This helps you know that you’ve chosen the best POA for your needs. You should also ask how to revoke a POA in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most common Kentucky power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent broad power on behalf of the principal, including the ability to handle the principal's finances.

  • However, if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies, the POA is terminated. Keep in mind that unless specifically stated, that a Kentucky power of attorney is durable. A principal may revoke a general power of attorney as long as they are competent.  

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 over the principal if they become incapacitated. Remember that by Kentucky law, all powers of attorney are durable unless specific wording is used that makes them into another type of POA. A durable power of attorney may be revoked by the principal as long as the principal is 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 grantor decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the document is terminated if the principal is incapacited or dies. The principal may also revoke it. A limited power of attorney may also terminate once its purpose is fulfilled or its expiration date, if there is one listed in the document, is fulfilled.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is a POA that appoints a healthcare surrogate to make decisions related to medical treatment on behalf of the principal.

  • However, like other POAs, unless it is durable, the document is invalid if incapacitation of the principal occurs. Even if this POA is durable, it is still limited. The agent cannot make end-of-life decisions on behalf of the principal. The principal should complete a living will and an advance healthcare directive to record their wishes. Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services offers a free PDF living will packet. A durable medical power of attorney may be revoked as long as the principal is competent.

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 case that the parent 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 child will temporarily live or travel 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 type of POA has the flexibility to be either durable or non-durable. However, it is a very powerful document with serious and long-reaching consequences. Because of this, the principal should seek legal advice before deciding to use this document.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on the principal's behalf.

  • In Kentucky, this type of POA is a limited power of attorney. This is officially known as Form TC 96-336.

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