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What is a Minnesota Power of Attorney

A Minnesota power of attorney is a legal document that provides the authorization for an individual, 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. A Minnesota POA is a tool often used for estate planning. However, there are other instances where this document is a useful tool.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving the authorization is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.

MN POA Laws:

A Minnesota power of attorney is a power of attorney form that must comply with the State of Minnesota’s power of attorney statutes. Minnesota statutes specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney and ensure that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. Minnesota also has a statutory short form available from the Attorney General's office. In Minnesota, a power of attorney shall, according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch:

  • The principal and the attorney(s)-in-fact must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind; according to Law Help Minnesota, even some people with dementia or another disability may still be considered mentally competent enough to create a POA.
  • The principal must sign the POA in front of a notary public.

The principal has the legal right to state which powers the agent may and may not exercise on their behalf. They may also revoke (terminate) the power of attorney at any time as long as they are competent. Additionally, a POA is terminated when:

  • Its purpose is fulfilled.
  • The expiration date within the document passes.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The principal dies.

Why Would You Use a Minnesota Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Age, mental health concerns, or illnesses. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the proper power of attorney to ensure their matters are properly handled and that their wishes are honored.
  • A person diagnosed with a mental illness may need 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 a person without dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs may vary. Thankfully, there are many types of power of attorney documents to use, but you should seek legal advice before choosing. This helps ensure you choose the best POA for your needs. You should also ask about the process of revoking a POA in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most common Minnesota powers of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an attorney-in-fact the ability to make decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • However, this POA expires if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. The principal may also elect to revoke the document provided they are not incompetent.

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 were to become incapacitated. The principal may revoke this POA as long as they are not incapacitated.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney does not become effective the minute it is signed by the principal. Rather, a certain event must occur.

  • For example, an individual is deployed because of their military service and needs their attorney-in-fact to handle tangible personal property transactions or banking transactions. This type of POA may also include an expiration date.

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 POA expires if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. The POA can also be revoked by the principal as long as the principal is competent.

Health Care Power of Attorney

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

  • However, in order for the agent to make decisions if the principal becomes incapacitated, this POA would need to be durable. Even then, it has limitations. This POA cannot be used to make end-of-life decisions. The Minnesota Department of Health provides more information about a Health Care Directive on its website, including where one can be downloaded. It is completed and used to make end-of-life decisions on behalf of the principal if the principal is declared as incapacitated. A healthcare power of attorney can be revoked by the principal as long as the principal is not incapacitated.

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 must leave the country for a period of time. It is also used if the minor child is traveling temporarily with another adult.

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 potential strength, it is important to seek legal advice before using this POA.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known as Form REV184b and Form REV184i, allows the agent, who is most often a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Minnesota 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 Minnesota Department of Public Safety on the principal's behalf.

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