Power of Attorney Form

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A power of attorney form or "POA" is a legal contract that is used to give another party "the agent" authorization to act on behalf of someone in affairs relating to legal matters. The POA should be someone trustworthy, such as a family member, spouse, or close friend.

These legal matters may include financial, medical, and guardianship issues on behalf of the individual creating the power of attorney. Additionally, a durable power of attorney means that the agent can continue to act even if the individual can no longer make decisions. A POA is required to be signed according to state laws to be in legal effect.

What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A Power Of Attorney allows another person (the agent) to take specific legal actions on your behalf. There are different types of power of attorney, depending on your circumstances. You should select one of the following POAs:

General (Financial) Power of Attorney

With a general power of attorney, one person (known as the principal) permits another person (usually referred to as the agent or attorney in fact) to manage their assets and financial affairs while the principal is still alive. 

Because this legal document grants the agent substantial power, the POA needs to list out clear instructions about what the agent can and cannot do. A clause can be added to terminate the power of attorney within a certain time frame.

Durable Power of Attorney

The difference between a durable power of attorney and other powers of attorney is that if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated in some way, the agent would still hold power--it doesn’t end. However, if you want your agent to continue to have power if you become disabled or incapacitated, make sure that your power of attorney explicitly states that it is durable. 

IRS Limited Power of Attorney (Form 2848)

This form should be used when you require an individual to represent before the IRS. If you have ongoing legal proceedings with the IRS, it is best to use Form 2848 to allow an experienced tax attorney and/or accountant to present and negotiate the case on your behalf.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney involves the principal granting specific powers to the agent. These powers are explicitly mentioned in the limited power of attorney.

For example, while the agent may be permitted to access a checking account to pay the monthly expenses of the principal, they may not have permission to make decisions related to medical care or retirement accounts. 

Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is more commonly referred to as a health care power of attorney (HCPOA). With a medical power of attorney, you’re creating a legal document that gives someone permission to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. Your agent will have the ability to consent, refuse, or withdraw medical treatment, services, or procedures on your behalf.

How do I get a Power of Attorney?

It often costs several hundred dollars in legal fees to get a POA from a law firm. With FormSwift, you can create a power of attorney with a few simple steps.

What Is the Procedure for Signing a Power of Attorney?

The procedure and requirements for signing a power of attorney vary slightly in every state. Generally, your named agent must be at least 18 years old. Your agent may not act as a witness during the signing process. In most states, there’s a requirement for the signature of the Principal (you) to be witnessed by at least two witnesses. Some states require that the document be signed in front of a notary public.

What Are The Limitations Of A Power Of Attorney?

  • Transferring Money—A POA cannot typically transfer power of attorney to another person, allow an agent to break fiduciary duties, or make any decisions after a principal’s death, including but not limited to their last will and testament.
  • Financial Institutions Reject a POA—Some financial institutions may refuse to recognize a power of attorney. For example, some state laws allow banks to require additional documentation, such as an affidavit. Banks may object the POA if it isn't durable, meaning the person who made the POA becomes incapacitated and the POA was not made to last during incapacitation. POAs are durable by default, but some states require an explicit statement with the document.
  • Springing Power of Attorney—A springing power of attorney takes place some time in the future after signing. It does not take effect immediately, but "springs" into action should the principal become incapacitated. 

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