Limited Power of Attorney Form

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A limited power of attorney form is a legally binding document that provides decision making power to another person. This power of attorney explains the exact decisions that the principal grants to the agent or attorney-in-fact. For example, a book agent may have the author they represent sign a limited power of attorney. The power listed may be that the agent has the right to cash the checks sent to them that are made payable to the author. The agent takes their commission out of that amount and then provides the rest of the funds to the author (generally in the form of writing a new check).

What is a Limited Power of Attorney (POA)?

A limited power of attorney (POA) is sometimes called a specific power of attorney or special power of attorney. It sets the scope of authority granted to a named and trusted ‘attorney’ (referred to as an agent or an attorney in fact in most states) by a ‘principal’ (the named individual giving their permission) who grants the other party specific powers to make decisions related to their personal or professional life. This document may or may not give durable power.

A common use of a limited power of attorney is one used in the entertainment business. Many times, a talent manager or agent will have their client sign a limited power of attorney so that they may cash their client’s checks on their behalf. The manager or agent will receive and cash the check, take their commission, and issue a new check (minus their percentage) to the client.

Another time that a limited power of attorney may be used is when a parent may have to leave the country for a period of time. If the parent wishes to place the child in the care of a family member or friend, the parent would give this temporary guardian a limited power of attorney to make schooling, and important medical decisions for the child.

Other Names

A limited power of attorney is also known as a “specific” power of attorney.

Definition of a Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney is a document that gives the named person, the agent or attorney-in-fact, with the legal authority to perform certain actions on behalf of the person who signs the document (known as the principal). A limited power of attorney doesn’t provide the agent with full authority over the principal. It outlines only the decisions that the agent may make for the principal. For example, a financial manager may have their client sign a limited power of attorney that allows the financial manager to invest their money without specifically speaking with the client to gain their consent. A limited power of attorney may also be known as a special power of attorney. 

Limited Power of Attorney vs. Power of Attorney

There are differences between a limited power of attorney and a traditional power of attorney. Their differences may help you better identify which document is better for your needs.

  • A limited power of attorney is used only for one specific actions. For example, you’re going out of the country and you’re appointing someone to make a single financial decision on your behalf during your absence.
  • A traditional power of attorney may list one or more decisions that the agent may make on behalf of the principal. It could also be much broader and encompass all decisions. 
  • A limited power of attorney is limited by the length of time that the principal chooses. For example, a financial manager would only have the power to take certain actions on behalf of their client to manage their investments during the time that the client uses their services. If the client changes to a different financial manager, the original one would no longer hold those powers. It could also be specifically defined length of time. For example, if you’re traveling in Europe for six weeks, you might use a limited power of attorney that gives someone certain decision making powers related to certain affairs for only the six weeks that you’re out of the country. 
  • A traditional power of attorney could be used until the principal is declared incapacitated by a court of law or at least two medical professionals. 

The Timeframe of a Limited Power of Attorney

Generally, a limited power of attorney lists a starting and ending date for the validity of the document. For example, if you were traveling abroad for two months, the start date would be the day that you’re leaving the country and the end date would be the date of your return. It may also have certain triggering factors that end the document’s validity. For example, the limited power of attorney would be revoked upon the death of the principal. It may be revoked in the event the agent is the spouse of the principal and they undergo the divorce process and the principal remarries. 

How to Make a Limited Power of Attorney (Step-by-Step)

First, determine exactly what it is that you’re authorizing someone to do on your behalf. It’s important that you clearly explain what this person may do on your behalf. Consider exactly how long this person will have the authority to act on your behalf. If there is a specific starting date and ending date, you must include it in the document. 

The second step is just as important as the first step: choosing the right person to act as your agent. This needs to be someone you have deep trust in and that you know will do the right thing. This person should also be responsible with money. 

Now, it is time for you to complete the limited power of attorney. If you’re using a template, make sure that you choose one that is specifically for your state. Each state has laws that govern the creation and execution of power of attorney documents. The template will have blank spots that make it easy for you to put in your information, the information of the agent, the description of the decision the agent may make on your behalf, the date the limited power of attorney begins, and the date that the limited power of attorney ends. 

The fourth step is executing the limited power of attorney. Depending on the state where you live, you may be required to sign and date the document in front of a notary public. If it is being used to make financial decisions, your state may require you to also have witnesses. 

Finally, give the agent the document for their use. You should keep a copy of the document for your records. 

How to Write a Limited Power of Attorney (Step-by-Step)

To write a limited power of attorney:

  • Choose the limited power of attorney made for your state. As a legal document, a limited power of attorney is subject to the laws in the state of your residency. 
  • Input personal information about both the principal and the agent or attorney-in-fact. As the person creating the document you’re the principal. The person who will make decisions on your behalf is known as the agent. You’ll need to use your legal name, your address (including city, state, and zip code), the legal name of the agent, the agent’s full address (including city, state, and zip code), and their phone number. As the principal, you are not required to put your social security number in the document, but you’ll need to provide some information that helps validate your identity. You’ll learn more about this in the next step. 
  • Explain the powers of the agent. Because this is a limited power of attorney, it is very important that you clearly and explicitly state what the agent may do on your behalf. Keep in mind that some activities may require verification of both the agent’s identity and your identity. For example, if your agent has the power to handle state or federal tax matters on behalf of you or your business, the limited power of attorney may need to include information such as your social security number, your EIN if you own a business, and other pertinent information. 
  • Include the date the limited power of attorney expires or will be revoked. Generally, a limited power of attorney has a specific day it starts and a specific day it ends. However, there are other ways that the document may expire. For example, the principal revokes it prior to its expiration, once the listed activities are completed, if the agent is married to the principal and they get a divorce and the principal remarries, or death of the principal. Simply choose the methods you’re adoption of expiration and revocation methods. 
  • List the state whose laws will be used to govern the agreement. This is generally the state in which you, the principal, are a resident. 
  • The agent completes an acceptance of appointment clause. This is only required in certain states. This clause is placed below the principal’s signature. The agent is accepting their position as the agent. It is signed by the agent.
  • Properly execute the limited power of attorney according to your state laws. Depending on the state in which you live, you may need to sign and date the limited power of attorney in the presence of witnesses or a notary. Even if you live in a state where a notary isn’t required to execute the document, notarizing it can be helpful as it helps prove the validity of the document if necessary.

Limited POA vs Durable/Lasting POA

A limited power of attorney limits the agent's scope to act on behalf of a principal to particular listed purposes for when the principal isn’t available or is unable to do so.

Who needs a Limited Power of Attorney?

People who may find this power of attorney useful are:

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and who may be unable to manage their own affairs in the future due to an anticipated absence or a physical or mental disability that prevents them from making their own decisions may find a limited power of attorney ideal. For example, an active military member who is going overseas may choose to use a limited power of attorney to nominate someone in the United States to handle their personal affairs in their absence.

What can you use this POA for?

You can use this power of attorney for any activities carried out by the principal who is not able to carry out their responsibilities, either due to anticipated absence or sickness contingency planning. Remember, the purpose of this document is to give specific direction. It does not cover every situation. Other POAs you may want to consider are general power of attorney and springing power of attorney.

Limited power of attorney forms are used for limited purposes for a limited time period. Examples include acting on behalf of a principle for healthcare, personal care and custody of children, real estate matters, and buying, selling, or disposal of assets.

Components of a Limited POA

A limited POA details:

  • The term or timeframe the limited powers are delegated, i.e. permanent or temporary period of time listed in the document. A limited power of attorney can be valid for a day or weekend, or last for years.
  • The number and frequency of actions that might be required from the power of attorney. This will describe whether or not the power of attorney will have to sign documents, make decisions, handle financial matters etc.
  • The specific details of the limited authority that further describe the actions, authority and liberties given to the power of attorney.

It’s imperative that the principal details the agent's authority to sign documents or give instructions in the best interest of the person giving them the power. The details are important because the POA may be shown to third parties to prove that the attorney in fact is acting within their legal capabilities. This POA may only cover a single matter, such as signing a specified contract which the person granting power is unable to do due to anticipated absence or to make allowance for potential sickness.

Scope and Limitations

Scope and Limitations: A limited POA may apply to a single area of activity, such as the handling of investments. For example, an investment manager, acting as agent, may have authority to:

  • Trading monies in a client’s or partner’s account;
  • Disbursement of funds in an investment account;
  • Fee-payments;
  • Instructions to brokers;
  • Other specified obligations.

In this case, the ‘limited’ power may refer to the fact that the account holder, or another authorized agent, manages other key investment account functions, such as cash withdrawals, beneficiary alteration, or other significant details.

  • Schedules and Time-frames: Other limitations may refer to when the agent is permitted to act on behalf of the principal, such as during holidays, business trips, sickness, or for a particular frequency.
  • Documentation: This power of attorney document must be signed, dated, and witnessed often in front of a notary public. It must detail the scope of the agent's authority and limitations. Any relevant paperwork, accounts, negotiations, or other relevant information which the agent needs should be detailed.
  • Power to Revoke: This is often referred to as a revocation clause. Most limited powers of attorney contain a clause explaining how it may be revoked. The principal signs and dates the documentation; this added contingency will void the document and end the agent's authority to act for the principal.

Both the agent and the principal should keep a copy of the signed and notarized legal document for their records.

Legal Considerations

How Long is a Power of Attorney Valid?

You set the length and considerations of your power of attorney document.

K-12 Children of Undocumented Immigrants in the US

July 30, 2018

Study of the approximate number of K-12 children of an undocumented immigrant in each state of the US.

Methodology

Our team at FormSwift created a map to demonstrate the approximate number of K-12 children of at least one undocumented immigrant in the US as a percentage of the total number of K-12 children in each state. We used 2014 Pew Research data to determine the approximate number of undocumented immigrants by state, and the percentage of children born to undocumented immigrants. We then used Migration Policy Institute data to create a projection of how the population of undocumented immigrants changed between 2014 and 2016, and thus how the number of children changed. We compared the number of children of at least one undocumented parent to the total number of K-12 students in each state, and ranked states by highest percentage.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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Sample Limited Power of Attorney

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