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What is a Utah Power of Attorney?

A Utah power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization for someone, referred to 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 the authority. A Utah POA is most commonly used during the estate planning process, but there are other times when it is also 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 the attorney-in-fact.

UT POA Laws:

A Utah power of attorney document must comply with Title 75, Chapter 9 of the Utah Code. It is also referred to as the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. These laws specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney. They ensure that the form, as well as its duties, are protected. Here are some of the state’s power of attorney requirements:

  • The principal and the agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • The power of attorney agreement must be written, it cannot be a verbal agreement.
  • The power of attorney form must be signed and dated.

The principal has the legal right to explain exactly which powers the agent can and cannot use on their behalf. The principal also has the legal right to revoke (terminate) the POA, even if it is durable, as long as they are competent. The power of attorney also terminates when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is not durable.
  • The power of attorney terminates because its purpose is fulfilled.
  • The power of attorney states that it terminates.
  • The agent resigns, dies, or becomes incapacitated.
  • The principal and agent are married and the parties file for divorce, legal separation, or annulment and the POA does not specifically state that the fiduciary relationship between the parties will remain in effect.  

Why Would You Use a Utah Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would use a Utah power of attorney to give another person the ability to make decisions about their tangible property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Their age, mental health reasons, or the diagnosis of an illness. They could 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, ensure that they establish the proper powers of attorney to handle their affairs and have their wishes fulfilled.
  • Someone diagnosed with a mental illness may need a different POA than someone diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Someone caring for dependent children may need a different POA than someone who does not have dependent children.

The needs each person has for a power of attorney varies. There are several different ones available so it is important that you get legal advice. This will help you choose the one that will best suit your needs. You will also be able to ask how to revoke a POA if it becomes necessary. Here are the most commonly used Utah powers of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

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

  • However, this authorization expires if the principal becomes incapacitated or if they were to pass away. The principal can revoke the POA as long as they are competent.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Utah durable power of attorney, also known as a statutory 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 the agent's authority continues over the principal if they were to become disabled or incapacitated. The principal can revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited (Springing) Power of Attorney

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

  • For example, the principal may want to grant only the power to make healthcare decisions or only power over their financial affairs. This POA is also known as a "springing" power of attorney because it springs into effect in a specified or discreet circumstance. The POA expires once its purpose is fulfilled, the principal becomes incapacitated, the principal dies, or if the principal revokes it.

Parental (Minor Child) Power of Attorney

A parental (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. This form is also used if the child temporarily lives or travels with another adult who is not their parent or guardian. However, under Utah law the time period for this POA is limited to six months.

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.

  • A real estate power of attorney is incredibly powerful. Before signing it, seek legal advice to ensure that you understand its power.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known in Utah as Form TC-737, which allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Utah State Tax Commission on behalf of the principal.

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