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What is a Montana Power of Attorney?

A Montana power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization for an individual, known 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 Montana POA is often used for estate planning, but there are other times when it is also useful.

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 attorney-in-fact.

MT POA Laws:

A Montana power of attorney is a power of attorney form that complies with Montana’s Uniform Power of Attorney Statutes. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act specifically outlines the parameters of a legally enforceable POA in the State of Montana and ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. The statutory POA requires a notary public to witness the signature of the principal. According to Montana Law Help's website, a notarized signature on a POA provides validation of the document.

To create a power of attorney, Montana also requires that:

  • The principal is at least 18 years of age and is of sound mind so that they understand what they are signing.

A successor agent may be named. In addition to naming an agent and the successor agent, the principal should also include special instructions to explain what the agent and successor agent may and may not do on their behalf.

As long as the principal is competent, they have the legal power to revoke the power of attorney. A POA also terminates when:

  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is not durable in nature.
  • The expiration date in the power of attorney has passed or the purpose of the power of attorney has been fulfilled.
  • The agent is incapacitated, resigns, or dies and there is no co-agent or successor agent named.
  • The principal and agent file for divorce or annulment or they file for legal separation.

Why Would You Use a Montana Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Age, mental health reasons, and illnesses. They may want their matters addressed in certain ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, have the right power of attorney established to ensure their matters are appropriately handled and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person with dependent children may have the need for a different power of attorney than a single person with no dependent children.  

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent with the general authority on behalf of the principal.

  • The principal may specify which powers the agent has or the agent may have broad powers. However, this POA is terminated if the principal becomes incapacitated, if they die, or if they revoke the document.

Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is also referred to as a statutory power of attorney. It 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.

Limited Power of Attorney

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

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to manage tangible personal property or real property, manage 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 special power of attorney, the POA terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if the principal revokes the document.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney allows the principal to appoint an agent to make medical decisions on their behalf.

  • The principal may even choose to make a durable medical power of attorney. However, neither a durable or traditional medical power of attorney can be used to make end-of-life decisions for the principal as these documents are not the same as an advance healthcare directive in the State of Montana. The Montana Department of Justice offers the My Choices Advance Directive free as a PDF download. They also offer an End of Life Registry.

Guardian of Minor Child Power of Attorney

A guardian of 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 or if the child will temporarily travel with or reside 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.

  • A real estate power of attorney has the flexibility to be either durable or non-durable. Before making a decision on which to use, seek legal advice.  

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 Montana Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

  • The Montana Department of Revenue provides its official POA on its website as a free download.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles on the principal’s behalf.

  • The official name for a vehicle power of attorney in Montana is Form MV65.

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