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What is a North Carolina Power of Attorney?

A North Carolina power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization for an individual, 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 individual granting authority. A North Carolina POA is most often used during the estate planning process, 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 referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact.

NC POA Laws:

A North Carolina power of attorney must comply with the North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act, Chapter 32A of the North Carolina General Statutes. 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 and the agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • Healthcare POAs in North Carolina are considered both durable and springing in nature.
  • Financial power of attorney must be signed by the principal in front of a notary public.
  • Healthcare power of attorney forms must be dated and signed by the principal as well as by two adult witnesses and all parties must also sign the document in front of a notary public.

The principal can specify which powers the agent can and cannot exercise on their behalf. The principal may also revoke (terminate) the power of attorney. Additionally, the power of attorney is terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is not durable.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled or its expiration date passes.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns and there is no co-agent or successor agent.
  • The principal and agent get a divorce and the power of attorney does not specifically state that the fiduciary relationship between the pirates will remain in place.

Why Would You Use a North Carolina Power of Attorney Form?

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

  • Their age, mental illness, or physical illness. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those in perfect health and those with a terminal illness, establish the proper power of attorney forms to ensure their matters are handled and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person diagnosed with a mental illness may need a different power of attorney than a person diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • A person caring for dependent children may need a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children to consider.

Each person’s needs for a power of attorney can vary. There are different types of powers of attorney available. Before choosing one, seek legal advice to determine which is best for your needs as well as to ask how to properly revoke the document should it become necessary. Here are the most common North Carolina power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants a single individual to handle matters on behalf of the principal.

  • However this power of attorney terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated, dies, or if they decide to 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. The principal may still revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

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

  • In many cases, an agent will have power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have authority to do other things such as handle real estate transactions (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. Once the purpose of the POA is fulfilled, it also terminates.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney allows the agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • Under Chapter 32c, healthcare power of attorneys in North Carolina are both springing and durable. Until they are actually necessary, they do not become effective. Once they are necessary, they remain in effect. Yet, they are still limited in that a healthcare power of attorney does not allow the agent to make end-of-life decisions on behalf of the principal. Rather, the principal also needs to complete an advance directive or a living will while they are still of sound mind. North Carolina Secretary of State offers a free PDF of an advance health care directive to use as well as a way to put the advance health care directive on file for future look up.

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 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 may also be used if the minor child will be temporarily living with 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 transactions on the principal's behalf.

  • This type of power of attorney can be durable or non-durable. It can also have long-term, serious consequences. Before using it, seek legal advice.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known in North Carolina as Form Gen-58, allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the North Carolina Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney, known as Form MVR 63, allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles on the principal's behalf.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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