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What is a Mississippi Power of Attorney?

A Mississippi power of attorney is a legal document that provides the legal authority for an individual, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the individuals granting the authority. A Mississippi POA is most often used during the estate planning process. However, there are other times when a POA 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.

MS POA Laws:

A Mississippi power of attorney is a power of attorney form that must comply with Mississippi’s power of attorney statutes. Mississippi code 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. Some of the requirements to create a POA include:

  • The principal and the agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • The POA must be in writing.
  • The POA must be signed by two witnesses, at least one witness may not be related to the principal or the principal must sign the POA in the presence of a notary public.
  • The POA must follow the statutory form.
  • If the POA is used for healthcare decisions, it must be clearly stated.
  • Copies of the POA must be treated as the original.

The principal has the ability to designate which powers the agent can and cannot exercise on their behalf. The principal also has the legal right to revoke (terminate) the power of attorney as long as they are competent. This remains true even if the power of attorney is durable. Further, a power of attorney is also terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled.
  • The expiration date within the power of attorney has passed.
  • The agent resigns, becomes incapacitated, or dies and there is no co-agent or successor agent named in the POA.
  • The power of attorney is terminated by a court order.
  • The principal and agent are married and file for divorce, annulment, or legal separation.

Why Would You Use a Mississippi Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Age, mental health concerns, or illness could lead someone to 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 appropriate power of attorney to ensure their matters are taken care of and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person diagnosed with a terminal illness may need a different power of attorney than a person diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • A person who has dependent children may need a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs may vary. Thankfully, there are several types of power of attorney documents available. Before you choose one, talk with an attorney to determine which POA will best suit your needs. You should also ask how to revoke the document in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most commonly used Mississippi power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants specific power to handle matters on behalf of the principal.

  • This document becomes invalid if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if they revoke it.

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. However, the principal may still revoke the POA as long as they are competent.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is different from other POAs because it only becomes effective when a certain event occurs.

  • The event is defined in the springing power of attorney. An example could be if an active member of the military is deployed overseas and will be gone for six months and needs someone to handle their finances and real property during that time. The power of attorney generally ends once its purpose is fulfilled. It can also end when an expiration date within the POA passes, if the principal revokes the document, if the principal dies, or if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the principal specifies. It is also known as a special power of attorney.

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to handle finances or decisions about medical treatments, 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 diminishes if the principal dies.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives the agent authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • Unless the POA is durable, this document loses its effectiveness if the principal becomes incapacitated. However, even if the POA is durable, the agent's authority falls short of making end-of-life decisions on behalf of the principal. The principal needs to create an advance directive while they are of sound mind to record their wishes. Mississippi Legal Aid’s website offers more information as well as an Advance Health Care Directives Toolkit.

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 child will be temporarily living or traveling 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 power, it is important for the principal to first obtain legal advice before using this POA.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known as Form 21-002, allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Mississippi 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 Mississippi Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Services on the principal's behalf.

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