Power of Attorney (POA) Forms (11)

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Updated July 27, 2022

A power of attorney form allows an individual (principal) to appoint an agent (attorney-in-fact) to make decisions and handle affairs on their behalf. An agent can handle a wide range of matters including financial, medical, guardianship, or tax-related duties (depending on the powers granted).

Signing Requirements – Must be signed under state law with either two (2) witnesses, notarized, or both.

By State

 

Table of Contents

By Type (11)


Advance Directive – Used for health care planning and combines a medical power of attorney with a living will.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 

 


Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney – The most common type of power of attorney, allows a person to grant someone else the unrestricted ability to handle financial transactions on behalf of the principal.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


General (Non-Durable) Power of Attorney – Grants the same financial powers listed in the durable form except that it does not remain in effect if the principal becomes incapacitated or mentally disabled.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


IRS Power of Attorney (Form 2848) – Revised in Dec. 2015, allows an individual or business entity to elect a party, usually an accountant or tax attorney, to file federal taxes on their behalf.

Download: Adobe PDF

 

 


Limited Power of Attorney – Permits a person to carry out a specific activity on the principal’s behalf either as a one (1) time occurrence or for a specific period of time.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Medical (Health Care) Power of Attorney – Used by an individual to select someone to handle their health care decisions in the chance they are not able to do so on their own.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Minor Child Power of Attorney – Allows a parent to give the full responsibility of their son or daughter to someone else (except for adoption rights). Valid for a temporary period of time, usually between six (6) months to one (1) year, which is dependent on the State’s laws.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 


Real Estate Power of Attorney – For a buyer or seller of a property that would like to hand over their rights in relation to handling the negotiation and transaction at closing.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


Revocation of Power of Attorney – To cancel a current power of attorney arrangement.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 

 


State Tax Filing Power of Attorney – Used to elect a tax preparer to handle a filing on behalf of an individual or entity. May be used for State or Federal filings.

 

 

 


Vehicle Power of Attorney – Typically provided by a State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or related agency to allow another person to sell, register, or title an automobile.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument

 

 


What is Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney is the designation of granting power to a person (agent) to handle the affairs of someone else (principal). The designation may be for a limited period of time or for the remainder of the principal’s life.

The principal can appoint an agent to handle any type of action that is legal under state law. The most common types transfer financial or medical powers to someone else in the event the principal should become incapacitated.

Definition of “Power of Attorney”

From the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in Section 102(7) (page 7):

“Power of attorney” means a writing or other record that grants authority to an agent to act in the place of the principal, whether or not the term power of attorney is used.

Power of Attorney Flow-Chart

How to Get Power of Attorney (5 steps)

Step 1 – Understanding Your Needs

person researching types of power of attorney on laptop

View and read the Types of Power of Attorney in order to get a better understanding of which form(s) are best.

The most common for financial purposes is the Durable Power of Attorney, which allows an agent to handle any monetary or business-related matters to the principal’s benefit.

In addition, if you would like to elect someone to handle your health care needs as well you can select a healthcare agent with the Medical Power of Attorney to make any and all decisions in the chance that you are not able to do so for yourself.

For estate planning, a full list of documents that an individual may want to complete is located in the Estate Planning Checklists which are specific to each state.

Step 2 – Selecting Your Agent (Attorney-in-Fact)

principal in conversation with agent

An agent, also known as an Attorney-in-Fact, is the individual that will be making the important decisions on your behalf. This individual does not need to be an attorney, although an attorney can be your agent.

The two (2) most important qualities you should look for in your agent are accountability and trust. You want to be sure that your agent will be available during times of duress and faithfully execute your wishes. It is possible to list more than one agent in your power of attorney form in the event your primary agent falls ill or is unavailable when needed.

Step 3 – Creating the Document

principal and agent filling out power of attorney form on laptop

After you have decided on the form(s) needed it is time to sit down and fill in the document. Most forms are provided by the state and can easily be filled in via PDF format (Download Adobe PDF Reader).

The agent(s) should be present at the time of writing the form and all personal information of the principal and agent(s) should be entered.

Step 4 – Signing / Execution

principal reviewing required forms for power of attorney

It is required to have the form(s) be signed in the presence of Witness(es), a Notary Public, or both. Check the Signing Laws in your State and only until after the document is properly witnessed will it be eligible for use.

For Medical Power of Attorney, some hospitals require that originals be present so it is recommended that originals be given to the agent(s).

Step 5 – Storing the Form(s)

principal stretching while sitting at desk with binders of documents

After the form(s) are signed it will be up to the principal and the Agent(s) to properly store them for when they are needed for use. These forms are not filed with any government agency or office so it will be up to each individual to securely maintain the form until it is needed.

How to Sign a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney must be signed by the principal in the presence of a Notary Public, Two (2) Witnesses, or both depending on state laws.

Signing Laws

Signing as the Agent

closeup of agent signing power of attorney form

When the agent signs documents on behalf of the principal, they should sign in the following manner:

[Principal’s Name], by [Agent’s Name], Attorney-in-Fact

Sample Agent Signature

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhen to use a Power of Attorney?

A: People most frequently use a power of attorney for financial or healthcare reasons. Say you want someone to act on your behalf for when you fall ill in the future, you would use a Medical (Health Care) Power of Attorney so your agent could make health care decisions on your behalf. If you are in a rare situation and want to give specific powers that aren’t financially or medically related, you can create a Limited (Special) Power of Attorney.

QDoes a Power of Attorney have to be Notarized?

A: Many people think that you need to submit your power of attorney with the government however that is incorrect. Many states require that your power of attorney be notarized to ensure that the signatures are true, which is to help detour fraud. Only the principal needs to be present with the notary for the Power of Attorney to be notarized. You can find a notary at any banking or financial institution. The easiest way is to go to a banking institution that you are associated with, as they will usually do it for free. The last step is to make a copy of the power of attorney and give it to your agent and keep the original with you in a safe place.

Q: What should I do if my Parent lives in another State?

A: The power of attorney must be tailored for the state in which your parent resides. It does not matter which state you live in, as long as the power of attorney is applicable to the principal’s state of residence, which in this case is your parent, is what matters.

Q: How to change/remove Power of Attorney?

A: Normally, by creating a new power of attorney that addresses the same powers as your previous power of attorney, it will automatically revoke your previous power of attorney form. It’s important that you notify all individuals and institutions of the change. Complete and sign this Revocation of Power of Attorney Form in order to remove your current power of attorney.

Q: Can a Power of Attorney change a Will?

A: This is ultimately determined by the laws in the State. Some States allow, if the principal specifically grants the powers, to allow the agent to modify their Last Will and Testament. However, this is not a method that is recommended to change a Will.

How to Write a Power of Attorney

This is a guide on fill-in a Durable Power of Attorney ONLY.

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word, OpenDocument

I. Formally Declared Effective Date

(1) Declaration Date. Before this paperwork is signed, the calendar date marking the first day the Principal wishes it to become an active representation of his or her intent must be documented. This date’s two-digit day of the month then the month and the year are required in the first three spaces for this task.

II. Principal Of Authority

(2) Principal. This paperwork will only function correctly if the Principal behind it is properly identified. The statement declaring the Principal’s intention must therefore be supplemented with his or her entire legal name.

(3) Street Address And State. Continue identifying the issuing Principal with a record of the address of his or her residence. His or her street address may be produced on the next space while the one that follows should be used to document the state where he or she lives.

III. Designation Of The Principal’s Authority

(4) Attorney-in-Fact. Naturally, for the Principal to formally designate an Agent to act in his or her stead with his or her authority, this Agent must be named. Supply the name of the Agent, otherwise referred to as the Attorney-in-Fact, where requested. Keep in mind that the Attorney-in-Fact may need to present his or her ID with this document to complete certain tasks with certain Businesses or Institutions. To this end, furnish this statement with the Attorney-in-Fact’s full name.

(5) Attorney-in-Fact Address And State. Some Entities that may review this document in the future to determine the validity of the Attorney-in-Fact’s principal powers will also wish to see this Agent’s full residential address documented. Submit this address precisely as it appears on the identification papers of the Attorney-in-Fact (for instance, his or her Driver’s License).

III. Status Of Designated Authority

Select Item 6 Or Select Item 7

(6) Immediate Effect. The designation of authority made in the previous statement must now be defined a bit further. To begin, it should be determined whether or not the Attorney-in-Fact will be granted the ability to wield the Principal’s authority immediately after this paperwork is properly executed. If so, then the Principal must initial the line corresponding to Statement (A) to define the effective date of the powers to be the same as the Principal’s signature date.

(7) Springing Effect. If the Principal intends for the Attorney-in-Fact to only be able to access the authority this document grants when the Principal becomes incapacitated then Statement (B) should be initialed by the Principal.

IV. Powers Authorized By Principal

Select Any Combination Of Powers From Those Listed In Item 8 Through Item 19

(8) Banking. The next definition required will be a description of the authority the Principal intends to bestow upon his or her Attorney-in-Fact. He or she will need to review the list presented in the next section so that initial authorization may be obtained by the Principal. For instance, if the Principal wants to use this document to authorize the Attorney-in-Fact to perform “Banking” functions on his or her behalf with financial institutions then the first definition of power presented in this list must be initialed by the Principal. This will allow the Attorney-in-Fact to engage in all the actions defined in the “Banking” power statement on behalf of the Principal. If the Principal does not authorize this type of power for the Attorney-in-Fact’s use, then this statement should be left blank or crossed out by the Principal. Only the Principal may provide his or her initials to any of the items in this list.

(9) Safe Deposit Box. The option to deliver the authority to access, view, and control the contents of his or her safe deposit boxes or those that he or she may access to the Attorney-in-Fact is open to the Principal in this document. If he or she wishes to designate this authority to the Attorney-in-Fact then the second list item must be initialed by the Principal.

(10) Lending Or Borrowing. If the Principal wishes to grant the Attorney-in-Fact the right to engage in taking up debts, making debts, or managing debts on his or her behalf then the third statement must be initialed by the Principal. Bear in mind this will allow the Attorney-in-Fact to use principal power in making new actions of “Lending Or Borrowing,” which includes managing current debts held or owed to the Principal, as well as any other action described by this power statement.

(11) Government Benefits. If the Principal intends for the Attorney-in-Fact to have the right to act in his or her name where government benefits are involved then he or she must initial the fourth topic. This will enable such actions as to apply or receive benefits in the Principal’s name. It should be noted that some Government Entities may require additional paperwork depending upon the action the Principal wishes the Attorney-in-Fact to take in his or her name.

(12) Retirement Plan. The Principal will need to initial the “Retirement Plan” option to grant the Agent the power to handle certain tasks with principal retirement plan(s) (such as receiving his or her retirement plan payments). It should be mentioned that while the Attorney-in-Fact will be able to manage the Principal’s retirement plans through this item, he or she will not be able to alter who the Beneficiaries of any of the Principal’s retirement plans.

(13) Taxes. By initialing the “Taxes” statement, the Principal can provide approval to the Attorney-in-Fact’s right to represent him or her by taking a limited amount of action in certain tax matters (i.e. receive or submit tax payments). If the Principal intends to authorize the Attorney-in-Fact to take additional actions then he or she will need to consult with the appropriate Tax Entity for the paperwork appropriate for the actions desired.

(14) Insurance. If desired, the Principal behind this instrument may grant his or her Attorney-in-Fact the authority to handle, maintain, create, or even terminate insurance policies with the Principal’s name. For this power to be granted, the Principal must initial the “Insurance” statement item.

(15) Real Estate. The eighth item of this list serves to authorize the Attorney-in-Fact in taking actions or making decisions regarding real property on behalf of the Principal. This includes a wide scope of actions ranging from buying or purchasing real property to releasing a claim on it or even selling it on behalf of the Principal. This power requires that the Principal’s initials are submitted to the “Real Estate” statement.

(16) Personal Property. In order for the Principal to give the Attorney-in-Fact the power to handle his or her “Personal Property,” the ninth item must bear the initials of the Principal. Notice this statement will give a wide scope of decision-making authority that the Attorney-in-Fact may use to perform actions such as selling, purchasing, or maintaining payment schedules of the Principal’s personal items. Since this statement will give such power over items ranging from the title of automobiles to stock ownership, the Principal is encouraged to carefully read through the actions that would be authorized by his or her initials. If desired, the Principal may strike through any items or powers mentioned in this item (and any other) if he or she does not approve however, this document will provide a separate area where limitations on the Attorney-in-Fact’s use of principal power may be discussed at length.

(17) Power To Manage Property. The Principal will need to initial the tenth item to grant the Attorney-in-Fact the “Power To Manage Property.” This will enable the Attorney-in-Fact to aid in maintaining real properties in the Principal’s name by giving him or her the principal authority to engage in actions such as rent collections or arranging or providing maintenance to the property.

(18) Gifts. The eleventh item of this section will enable the Principal to designate the authority to handle “Gifts” in his or her name. This will include actions such as debt forgiveness on the Principal’s behalf. The initials of the Principal will need to be dispensed to this item if this type of authority should be wielded by the Attorney-in-Fact in his or her name.

(19) Legal Advice And Proceedings. The Attorney-in-Fact can be given the right to handle obtaining and paying for “Legal Advice and Proceedings” for the Principal if the Principal initials the final statement.

V. Special Instructions From Principal

(20) Additional Principal Instructions. This instrument will be considered a complete representation of the Principal’s intended granting of authority to the Attorney-in-Fact until it is either revoked or a new one is issued. Therefore, any additional powers, limitations on power, or instructions that are meant to be a part of the designation of principal authority being made should be supplied to the “Special Instructions” section. If needed, additional space can be inserted directly into this area, or an attachment with this information can be made then kept with this paperwork at all times. Make sure such an attachment is titled, dated, and is cited in this section.

VI. State Law

(21) Ruling State. The designation of authority will need to comply with the laws of the state where it will be considered effective. Identify this state by dispensing its name where requested.

VII. Required Signing

(22) Signature Date. The calendar date of the Principal’s signing must be provided at the time of the signing. This date is imperative in that it will display whether this is the most recent designation of authority made by the Principal.

(23) Principal’s Signature. Once the current date is reported, the Principal must submit his or her signature.

VIII. Execution Proven By Witness Or Notary

(24) First Witness Signature. The signing of this document will need to be verified in some manner to the satisfaction of its Reviewers. The State where it will be considered effective and whose laws govern its content will have set regulations on how the Principal’s signing should be verified. Generally, it is strongly recommended to have this signing witnessed and notarized. If two Witnesses have gathered with the Principal for this signing, then each must review the testimony following the Principal’s signature then sign the area provided to a unique area. The signature each Witness provides will aid in verifying that the Principal has been observed as signing this document. Thus, once the Principal has signed this paperwork, the First Witness should be given this document so that he or she may read and acknowledge the testimonial provided then sign his or her name and print his or her address.

(25) Second Witness Signature. The Second Witness, who has also watched the Principal sign this document, must sign his or her name on the next available signature line after he or she has read the testimonial and print his or her address.

(26) Notary Public. If a Notary Public is present at the time of the Principal’s execution, he or she shall take control of this paperwork, then demonstrate that the signature provided by the Principal has undergone the notarization process. This will also add credibility to the fact that the Principal has personally signed this document since the notarization process will involve verifying the Principal’s identity.

IX. Specimen Signature And Acceptance Of Appointment

(27) Attorney-in-Fact Name. An additional form has been presented as part of this package so that the Attorney-in-Fact may show his or her understanding and acceptance of the authority being granted. Prepare the statement provided with a production of the full name of the Attorney-in-Fact.

(28) Attorney-in-Fact’s Signature. The Attorney-in-Fact must review the completed statement above then sign his or her name before a Notary Public.

(29) Notarization. As mentioned, the Attorney-in-Fact should sign the acceptance statement under the guidance of a Notary Public. Once this action is complete the Notary Public shall complete the final area to confirm the identity of the Attorney-in-Fact at the time of signing, the location of this signing, as well as the date.