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What is a Louisiana Power of Attorney?

A Louisiana power of attorney is a legal document that acts as 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 authority. A Louisiana power of attorney is most commonly used in 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.

LA POA Laws:

A Louisiana power of attorney implies that the power of attorney form complies with Louisiana’s Revised Statutes. This act specifically outlines the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney, and ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. In the State of Louisiana, a durable medical power of attorney (or healthcare power of attorney) is the most commonly used POA. Some of the requirements include:

  • The principal and agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind when the POA is created and understand what they are signing.
  • The principal must sign the POA in the presence of a notary public.
  • If the POA isn't the original document, it must also be notarized or it may not be honored.

The principal has the right to include the powers the agent does and does not have. Additionally, the principal may revoke or terminate the power of attorney at any point as long as they are considered competent. This remains true even if the power of attorney is durable.

Additionally, a power of attorney is terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is not considered.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled.
  • The expiration date within the POA has passed.

Why Would You Use a Louisiana Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why a person would want to use a Louisiana power of attorney to give another person the legal authority to make decisions related to their personal property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons may include:

  • Age, mental health concerns, or illness. They might want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those diagnosed with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the proper power of attorney for their needs to have their matters handled appropriately as well as to have their wishes fulfilled.
  • A person diagnosed with a mental illness may require a different power of attorney than a person diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • A person with dependent children may need a different power of attorney than someone without dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs can vary. Thankfully, there are different types of power of attorney documents available. Before you decide to use one, seek legal advice so that you can ask about which one will best suit your needs as well as how you can revoke it if necessary. Here are the most common Louisiana power of attorney documents.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants the agent authority to handle affairs on behalf of the principal.

  • This document expires if incapacitation or death of the principal occurs. The POA can also be revoked by the principal as long as the principal.

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 even if the principal becomes incapacitated. In Louisiana, the most common durable power of attorney is a healthcare power of attorney. However, it does not cover end-of-life decisions. The principal may 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 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 becomes incapacitated or dies. It will also terminate if the purpose of the POA is fulfilled, its expiration date passes (if it has one), or if the principal revokes it.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney grants power to the agent to make important healthcare decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • It will only continue after the principal becomes incapacitated if the healthcare power of attorney is durable. The Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs provides a free PDF download of a healthcare power of attorney. Even then, it has limitations. It does not allow the agent to make end-of-life decisions. For end-of-life decisions, the principal must complete a living will while they are still of sound mind. The Louisiana Secretary of State provides a free PDF download of a living will. If the power of attorney isn’t durable, it terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated. The principal may also revoke the document if they are 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 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 travel or live with another adult who is not the child's parent or guardian for a temporary period.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

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

  • It has the flexibility to be either durable or non-durable. Because of its power, it is is important to talk with an attorney to make sure you understand how this document works. Remember that the original document as well as any copies of the POA must be notarized.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known as R-7006, allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Louisiana 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 Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles and the Louisiana Department of Revenue on the principal's behalf.

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