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Durable Financial Power of Attorney Form

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A Durable Power of Attorney is a form that allows a person to elect someone else to handle financial decisions related to personal and real property on their behalf while conscious or incapable of making their own decisions (incapacitated). The principal should select an agent along with a ‘successor’ or ‘secondary’ agent, in the chance their first individual selected is not available, that they can trust in the event they are not able to represent themselves. The form is valid, in most States, until the death or Revocation by the principal. It is recommended, although not required in some States, to have the document notarized and at the very least witnessed by two (2) non-family persons.

by State

Table of Contents

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A Durable Power of Attorney (form) is for anyone wanting another person to handle matters on their behalf when incapacitated. It’s by far the most popular out of all the power of attorney types because it has the “durable” (allows the powers given to the agent to remain valid in the event of Principal’s incapacitation) aspect, which most people are looking for when creating a power of attorney.

A Durable Power of Attorney is also referred to as the following:

  • Durable POA
  • Dual Power of Attorney

A Durable power of attorney allows you to give the following powers to your agent simply by initializing next to the stated clause in your durable (POA) form:

Banking Lending/Borrowing
Safe Deposit Box Government Benefits
Retirement Plan Taxes
Legal Advice and Proceedings Real Estate
Personal Property Gifts
Power to Manage Property Insurance
Special Instructions (Custom)

Durable POA vs General POA

Both forms allow for the principal to select someone else to act in their behalf. Although, the durable allows for the relationship to continue in the event the principal is not able to think competently any longer. This could be due to a multitude of reasons most commonly to Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, coma, or any condition that would severely impair the mind of the principal.

If the principal would rather have their agent(s) no longer have the power to act on their behalf in the event they are incapacitated, but have possess the full responsibility while they are of sound mind, the principal will want to fill-in a general financial power of attorney.

Authorizing a Power of Attorney

In most States, it requires either the signature of two (2) witnesses (that are not related to the principal) or a notary public. In some States both are required (two (2) witnesses and a notary public). Your durable power of attorney is a very serious form, therefore States go to great lengths to ensure that when the form is completed that it is to the wishes of the principal.

Agent’s Acceptance of Appointment

At the end of the form the Agent must read and acknowledge the power that they have and how important their position is for the principal. This addendum is recommended to be attached as it is required in some States.

Medical Decisions

If you need medical powers to be apart of your durable power of attorney, you need to complete a Medical Power of Attorney so that you can instill your wishes in the form in addition to having a trusted person make the best decisions on your behalf. The durable form does not cover health care related decisions, only financial.

In addition, the medical power of attorney contains a Living Will, (the combination is legally referred to as the Advance Directive) and allows you to make end of life decisions. Such decisions would include whether or not you would like to have food, hydration, artificial breathing, and if you would like your organs to be donated after your death.

Where to File Your Form?

Your Durable Power of Attorney, and any copies, are to be held by the parties involved (Including the Principal, Agent(s), and any third parties such a financial institution. It is recommended to have a copy immediately forwarded to the principal’s attorney after singing, but otherwise the form is left with the agent and their immediate family.

Some States have a department where the principal may opt to send the document after it has been completed where it can be accessed at anytime.

State Laws

How to Write

Before filling-in, the principal should recognize that the document they are about to write gives ultimate power (where initialed) to the person(s) they select to handle actions on their behalf while they are of sound mind and if they should become incapacitated. Therefore it is especially recommended that the individual(s) selected are trustworthy such as family or close friends or business partners.

Step 1 – Enter the following in the first (1st) paragraph enter the date of the agreement and the:

  • Principal’s full name, street address, city, and State;
  • Attorney-in-fact’s full name, street address, street address, city, and State.

Step 2 – Under the heading EFFECT DATE initial either if the principal would like to have the powers be available to the attorney-in-fact immediately or only when the incapacitation should take place.

Step 3 – Under most State laws, the principal will have to initial next to each power they are granting to their agent including but not limited to:

  • Banking;
  • Safety Deposit Boxes;
  • Lending or Borrowing of Money;
  • All Types of Government Benefits;
  • Retirement Accounts;
  • Taxes (Filing);
  • Insurance;
  • Real Estate;
  • Personal Property & Assets;
  • Real Estate (Management);
  • Gifts;
  • Legal Advice;
  • Special Instructions (Other) – Initial and complete with description.

Step 4 – Enter the State the principal is a resident.

Step 5 – When signing it is important to know that most States require, at the very least, two (2) witnesses (not family related) or a notary public to acknowledge the parties. The principal and attorney-in-fact must be present when signing in front of the witnesses or notary public.

Step 6 – Some States require the attorney-in-fact authorize an Acknowledgment of their duties acting in the in the best interests of the principal. In addition to the original document, the individual should sign in front of a notary public.

Step 7 – Several originals should be made for each party and be kept in a safe place. Most States do not require the filing with any government agency and should be given to any and all financial institutions to inform them of the new designation. Form must be presented by the attorney-in-fact whenever representing the principal.