The power of attorney entitles a designated person to legally make decisions, regarding medical, financial, and certain personal matters.
There are cases when you may need to authorize someone with a power of attorney if you become unable to manage all or part of your decisions for a period of time or forever.
The process to get a power of attorney will vary depending on the state you are located in, but the general picture involves filling out a designated form and notarized.
There are some steps to follow in order to get a power of attorney.
Select a close one to be the agent
- 1 Select a close one to be the agent
- 2 Establish what type of document adapts to your needs
- 3 Get legal custody if you cannot obtain a power of attorney
- 4 Hire a trusts and estates attorney
- 5 Fill out the attorney form
- 6 Gather round witnesses
- 7 Make an attorney review the document
- 8 Notarize the power of attorney
- 9 Keep the document on a safe place
The power of attorney involves decision making and these decisions are considered the principals will.
Therefore the person you choose to be your agent has to be someone that really knows you and that is a close one.
In order to make your decision, there are some considerations that you have to take into account. Such as:
- It should be someone really close and who knows your wishes, desires and in accordance with your values. The agent must be a person aware of your religion and beliefs.
- It must be a person that is available and close to where you live. An agent is a person that needs to be reachable.
- Consider a person that is in good health and capability. Able for decision making
- Power of attorney is a big responsibility to take in mind to choose different agents for different areas:
Establish what type of document adapts to your needs
Basically, there are two types.
The medical power of attorney enables a person to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal but does not give power for business or property issues.
There are other types such as:
- Springing power of attorney that gives power to the agent, but only when the principal is incapacitated or unable to make his o her own choices.
- A durable power of attorney gets into effect immediately and can continue to be valid when the person who gives it gets incapacitated.
- However, if the word “durable” is not on the document, the power of attorney is voided when the person becomes unable to decision making.
- It can be both categories, springing and durable, but to go into effect there must be proof of incapacitation of the person who granted the power.
- Also, there is an ordinary or general power of attorney. It gives the agent all the powers, rights, and responsibilities even if the person is not yet incapacitated but needs help in some specific matters.
- As well there is a limited power of attorney that is for a specific purpose and it will get into effect principal needs it, for example, some business or property issues, but no other matters.
Get legal custody if you cannot obtain a power of attorney
Furthermore, if the person gets mentally incapacitated before he or she had the opportunity of making a power of attorney, there is still an option and it is to get a conservatorship or adult guardianship.
This sort of custody is similar to be a guardian, but with it, limitations rather if you have a power of attorney.
- To become a guardian, the court must determinate the incapability. Therefore you have to file a petition to the court if you want to become someone’s guardian.
- The petition must be made on a courthouse where the principal lives in
- And, when the petition is made, you will get a citation for the hearing, on that day you have to make the proposal of incapacitation and demonstrate that there is no other alternative
- All the interested parties, even the proposed ward, can argue the petition
Hire a trusts and estates attorney
A power of attorney papers is usually arranged as part of the broader estate preparation procedure.
And you will need a lawyer that is competent and capable of delivering both requirements.
- Ask for referrals to your friends and family. Look at the state bar online
- The county and state bar associations usually offer a directory that you can use for decision making
- Make sure you meet the state’s requirements
Each state has its requirements for power of attorney, but usually, they are similar.
Verify if the state you are located in has special forms for power of attorney. You can find the forms on the internet, including https://powerofattorney.com
Fill out the attorney form
Usually, the power of attorney forms doesn’t have to be government-written legal documents.
Nonetheless, there are some established forms that you can find online to have some sense of how to make your document.
Check online the templates https://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/power-of-attorney-form/?loc=US
Gather round witnesses
Some state’s laws dictate the necessity to have in the signing of the document witnesses.
For example, in Florida, a power of attorney must be signed by two witnesses although, in Utah, no witnesses are required.
The agent, the principal, and the witnesses must be present at the same time.
Make an attorney review the document
Likewise, you are going to need an attorney to review the document.
A lawyer may discern legal issues that those without official legal training can disregard.
Even if you do not take into service an attorney to check the papers, make sure that you without a doubt and expressly classify the powers that are being granted to the agent.
And when those powers will come into effect, and when (in case) those powers will stop to have an effect.
Be really thorough about all the issues that the agent is going to be taking on. If he or she is going to be able to sell property, make withdrawals and medical decisions.
Notarize the power of attorney
In addition, you will have to notarize the document. In some states, the signatures of the principal, agent and the witnesses must be in the presence of a notary.
Even though the state does not require notarization, this procedure will eliminate any doubt and gives legalization to the document.
- First, the notary is going to need to verify the identity of the participants
- Likewise, take in the regard that you need to pay a fee for the notarization process
Keep the document on a safe place
There will be no record in any government agency of your power of attorney.
Therefore it is important that you save it in a secure place that is at hand in case you need it.
Co-founder of AllAboutCareers, one of the top sites for graduates, students and school leavers websites. I studied at the University of Essex. This is my site I talk about finance and help with administrative processes in the USA.