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What is a Tennessee Power of Attorney?

A Tennessee power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization granting an individual, referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. A Tennessee POA is often used for estate planning. However, there are other instances where 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 known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.

TN POA Laws:

A Tennessee power of attorney is a power of attorney form that complies with Title 34 of the Tennessee Code. These state laws 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 document must be signed by two adult witnesses.
  • The power of attorney form must be notarized by a notary public.
  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.

When creating the power of attorney, the principal has the legal right to state what the agent may and may not do on their behalf. Additionally, as long as the principal is competent, they have the legal ability to revoke (terminate) the POA even if it is durable. A Tennessee power of attorney is also terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes disabled or incapaciated and the power of attorney is not durable.
  • The principal was an unemancipated minor child and reached the age of majority and no longer requires a person to stand in as loco parentis to make healthcare decisions.
  • The principal and agent were married and the marriage was dissolved or annulled.

Why Would You Use a Tennessee Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would choose to use a Tennessee power of attorney to give someone the authority to give someone 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. They may want their affairs managed in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the right power of attorney to ensure their affairs are appropriately handled and their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different power of attorney than a person with a terminal illness.
  • A person who has dependent children may require a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

Everyone’s power of attorney needs may vary. Thankfully, there are several different power of attorney documents available. Before choosing one, you should seek legal advice so that you can choose the best POA for your needs. You should also ask how to revoke a power of attorney so that you know how to do so if it becomes necessary. Here are the most commonly used Tennessee power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants broad powers to the agent.

  • The agent may be a family member or another person. If the principal becomes incapacitated or dies, the POA becomes invalid. The principal may also revoke the POA.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney 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 were to become disabled or incapacitated. The State of Tennessee's Commission on Aging & Disability provides more information on durable powers of attorney.

Limited Power (Springing) 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. 

  • This type is also known as a "springing" power of attorney because it springs into effect in a specified or discreet circumstance.

Medical (Health Care) Power of Attorney

A medical or health care power of attorney grants power to the agent to make important health care decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • However, it only continues if the principal is incapacitated if it is a durable medical power of attorney. Yet, even then it has limitations as the agent's authority does not extend to making end-of-life decisions for the principal. The principal needs to create a living will or advance directive to make sure that their end-of-life wishes are honored. The Tennessee Division of Health Care Finance & Administrative provides a free PDF download on living wills and advance directives.

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 in other circumstances such as if the child is temporarily living with or traveling 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.

  • Because a real estate power of attorney can have serious repercussions as well as be written in a way that is durable or non-durable, the principal should first obtain legal advice before signing this POA.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known in Tennessee as Form RV-F0103801, allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Tennessee Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney, officially known as Form RV-F1311401, which allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Taxpayer and Vehicle Services Division on the principal's behalf.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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