How to Fill Out a Power of Attorney
Preparing and executing a power of attorney is serious business. A power of attorney allows you to designate to another trusted individual the ability to make decisions for you in regard to financial or health-related matters.
Under the law in all states, a power of attorney literally gives another individual the ability to take certain actions on your behalf, a significant grant of authority.
6 Steps to Fill Out a Power of Attorney
1. Obtain an appropriate power of attorney form.
If you desire to create a financial power of attorney, your bank or other financial institution will have this type of form for your use. If you are interested in a health-care power of attorney, you doctor or a hospital as well as many religious organizations likely will have such a form available for your use.
No state allows a combination financial and health-care power of attorney. If you want to cover both situations, you will need to execute two separate powers of attorney.
2. Designate the individual you want to be your agent under a power of attorney.
The individual you select needs to be someone you trust, that lives in relatively close proximity to you, and that has the time and ability to undertake the duties and obligations of the power of attorney.
3. Write onto the power of attorney document itself any limitations you desire in regard to the agent’s authority.
There will be a blank space on the form itself in which you can place any special instructions of limitations.
4. Complete the other provisions of the power of attorney form.
These include the date you are executing the document and any termination date for a financial power of attorney. Most people establish financial powers of attorney that are considered “durable.” This means that a power of attorney lasts indefinitely.
A health-care power of attorney by definition is durable and continues until canceled or revoked by the grantor.
5. Execute the power of attorney in front of a notary public.
If you do not sign the document in front of a notary public, the power of attorney will be of no effect whatsoever.
6. Give the agent you designated in your power of attorney the original document.
Keep a copy for yourself.
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