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Power of Attorney Basics and Requirements

Power of Attorney: Definitions

The current laws regarding power of attorney were established in 2006 when the Uniform Power of Attorney Act was implemented. This basically ensured that there would be a uniform standard for power of attorney law in every state, and that there would be basic legal elements that had to be adhered to when implementing a power of attorney, regardless of what state you live in.

Durable and Non-Durable Differences

The main differences between a durable and non-durable power of attorney is that a durable power of attorney continues to be effective upon the incapacitation of the principal while the non-durable power of attorney does not.

A power of attorney template or POA form can be used to nominate a power of attorney to represent an individual and their affairs in several different areas should they become incapacitated.

  • This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal.
  • This power of attorney shall become effective upon the incapacity of the principal.
  • Similar wording that shows the intent of the principal to confer authority to the agent in the event of the principal’s incapacitation.

The specific wording should be used depending on the specific situation of the principal and what type of durable power of attorney is required. A power of attorney that is needed to be effective immediately upon signing should use the wording from the first statement above. If the power of attorney is to spring on the event of the principal’s incapacitation then the wording from the second statement should be used.

Requirements for a Power of Attorney

The Power of Attorney Law provides that any "natural person having the capacity to contract may execute a power of attorney."

  • The power of attorney must contain the date of execution.
  • The power of attorney must be signed by the principal or by another adult in the principal’s presence and under the direction of the principal.
  • The power of attorney is signed and acknowledged before a notary public or is signed by two witnesses.

If the durable power of attorney is signed by two witnesses rather than a notary public, the witnesses must be adults and cannot include the attorney-in-fact representing the principal.

A power of attorney form can incorporate any type of transaction that the principal wishes to have administered by the attorney-in-fact. These can include:

  • transactions related to real property or tangible personal property;
  • stocks and bonds,
  • commodities and options,
  • banking and other financial institution needs,
  • business operations,
  • beneficiary transactions related to estates and trusts,
  • insurance and annuities,
  • claims and legal litigation,
  • personal and family maintenance,
  • social security or other government program benefits, and
  • retirement plans and tax matters.

Power of Attorney Forms

Create your power of attorney document using our easy to follow forms below. Select the best POA for your needs below and get started now.