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What is a Vermont Power of Attorney?

A Vermont power of attorney is a legal form that provides the authorization for an individual, known 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 Vermont POA is often used during the estate planning process. There are other instances where a POA 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 the attorney-in-fact.

VT POA Laws:

A Vermont power of attorney is a legal document that must comply with Vermont law Title 14 Chapter 123. These laws specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney. The laws ensure 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 POA must be created in writing.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and at least 18 years of age.
  • One or more witnesses must sign the power of attorney form.
  • A notary public must also witness the signing of the document.
  • The POA does not go into effect without the agent's signature.
  • The principal must sign a disclosure form that states that they understand a power of attorney, and the powers that it grants.

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

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The purpose of the POA is fulfilled.
  • The principal and agent are married and file for divorce.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns.

Why Would You Use a Vermont Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would use a Vermont 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 health, or illness. They may want their affairs handled in certain ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are terminally ill and those who are perfectly healthy, establish the right powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and their wishes 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 with dependent children may need a different power of attorney than a person without dependent children.

The needs each person has for a power of attorney may vary. Although there are several different POAs available, you should get legal advice to choose the one that is best for your situation. This will also give you the opportunity to ask how to revoke a power of attorney in the event it becomes necessary. Here are the most common Vermont powers of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent specific power to manage the affairs on behalf of the principal.

  • However, the incapacity of the principal or the death of the principal terminates this POA. The principal also has the right to revoke this document.

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.

  • According to the State of Vermont, a durable power of attorney is called "durable" because the authority continues over the principal even if the principal is considered incapacitated or disabled. This power of attorney can be revoked by the principal as long as the principal is competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the grantor specifies.

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to handle 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 authority expires if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. The POA also expires once its purpose is fulfilled.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, also known as a power of attorney for healthcare, is used to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • This type of POA can be durable or nondurable. If it isn't durable, it will become invalid if the principal is declared incompetent or incapacitated. If it is durable, the principal can continue to make decisions for the principal, but they are limited as the agent cannot make end-of-life decisions. Instead, the principal must complete an advance directive or living will while they are of sound mind to record their desires. Vermont Legal Help offers a free PDF of an advance directive.

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 is also used when the 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.

  • This type of power of attorney is incredibly powerful. Before signing it, the principal should seek legal advice.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney, officially known in Vermont as Form PA-1, which allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Department of Taxes 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 Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles on the principal's behalf.

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