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What is a New Jersey Power of Attorney?

A New Jersey power of attorney is a legal document that provides the authorization for a person, referred to as an 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 New Jersey power of attorney is often used during the estate planning process. It is also a useful tool in other circumstances.

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.

NJ POA Laws:

A New Jersey power of attorney document must comply with New Jersey law Title 46 of New Jersey’s Revised Statutes, also known as the General Durable Power of Attorney Act. These statutes specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney and ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. Here are some of the state’s power of attorney requirements:

  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
  • The agent and any successor agent must also be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
  • The POA must be signed and dated by at least two witnesses that can attest that the principal and the agent are of sound mind; the signing must also take place in the presence of a notary public.
  • The POA may be supplemented with a video or audio recording to show that the principal and agent are both of sound mind and not under undue influence at the time the POA was created and signed.

The principal can explicitly state which powers the agent can and cannot use on their behalf. The principal also has the right to revoke (terminate) the POA, even if it is durable, as long as the principal is competent. Additionally, a POA is terminated when:

Why Would You Use a New Jersey Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Their age, mental health concerns, or the diagnosis of an illness.They may 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 right powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • Someone diagnosed with a mental illness may require a different POA than someone diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Someone with dependent children may require a different POA than someone without dependent children.

Every person’s need for a power of attorney varies. There are several types of POAs available. Because of this, it is important for you to get legal advice so that you choose the right one to meet your needs. You should also ask how to revoke the power of attorney in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most common New Jersey powers of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is often referred to as a financial power of attorney. It is often used to give powers to an agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • However, this POA terminates if the principal become incapacitated or if they die. The principal also has the ability to revoke the POA with notice.

New Jersey Durable Power of Attorney

A New Jersey 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 disabled or incapacitated. The principal can revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent and it is done with proper notice.

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 the principal's financial affairs 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 becomes incapacitated or dies. A limited POA also expires once its purpose is fulfilled.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (Proxy Directive)

A healthcare power of attorney, also known in New Jersey as a proxy directive, grants power to the agent to make healthcare decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • A healthcare power of attorney can be durable or nondurable. If it isn't durable, it loses its effectiveness if the principal is declared incompetent or incapacitated. If it is durable, the agent can continue to make decisions if the principal is declared incapacitated or incompetent, but there are still some limitations, including end-of-life decisions. While of sound mind, the principal needs to complete a living will or advance directive to ensure that their desires are made known. The New Jersey Department of Health provides insightful information about and links to advance directive samples.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their minor child to a temporary guardian in the event 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 is temporarily living or traveling with an adult who is not their parent or guardian.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

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

  • It has the flexibility to be either durable or limited. Since it is such a powerful document and can have serious consequences from its use, the principal should get legal advice before using it.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known as Form M-5008-R, allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to and discuss tax matters with the Division of Taxation 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 New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission on the principal's behalf.

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