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A power of attorney (POA) is a written document intended to legally enable a person to represent somebody else in financial, medical/health-care, or other related matters. Usually, a POA is made when it is anticipated that a person would not be physically present to attend to his/her own matters, or in the event that he/she gets incapacitated, and so is unable to act in said matters.

A person who wishes to grant such an authority to another is called the principal, and the person to whom it is granted is called the attorney-in-fact (or agent). The laws regarding what should be included in a power of attorney are not uniform across all states. Some states require that the document be signed by one or two witnesses, notarized, and filed in the local probate court. Some require either only witnesses or only notarization. In some states, only a written document is sufficient to grant a power of attorney. There are a few states where the laws are very elaborate, and a lot more goes into getting a power of attorney granted than in most states.

If a person, due to some reason, loses the ability to handle his/her own affairs, then the family of such an individual would need to get a court-appointed guardian to manage them. To avoid this situation, it is advisable to get a 'durable' POA prepared. A durable POA remains effective even after a person has lost the ability to act, for all practical purposes, independently and rationally. A general POA, on the other hand, loses its effectiveness with the loss of the principal's abilities.

General Power of Attorney

I, (complete name), resident of (complete address), hereby authorize (name of agent), resident of (complete address), as my Attorney-in-fact.

I hereby state that my Attorney-in-fact shall have the complete authority to make such decisions listed below, on my behalf.

(Over here, list the powers that you wish your attorney-in-fact should have, and the assets for which he/she might be required to make decisions, and the scope of such decisions. State clearly the circumstances in which these powers would be limiting, and the circumstances in which they would not.)

I further wish to state that I may revoke this power of attorney at any time I may choose to, with a prior written notice to my Attorney-in-fact.

Date:
Signature:
Place:
Name:

Witnesses (Optional)

1. (complete name) (signature)

2. (complete name) (signature)

(County)

(State)

Notarization (Optional)

On the (day) day of (month) in (year), a Notary Public known to me appeared in person and proceeded with the execution of this document, and after being sworn, acknowledged the execution of this document for the purposes mentioned therein as carried out of his/her own volition.

(NOTARY PUBLIC)

My Commission Expires

(SEAL)

Durable Power of Attorney

I, (complete name), resident of (complete address), hereby authorize (name of agent), resident of (complete address), as my Attorney-in-fact.

In the absence of the said Attorney-in-fact, I authorize (complete name of alternate attorney-in-fact), resident of (complete address), as my alternate Attorney-in-fact.

This document shall take immediate effect and shall remain effective in the event of my loss of physical or mental capacity. This document is a Durable Power of Attorney.

I hereby state that my Attorney-in-fact shall have the complete authority to make such decisions listed below, on my behalf.

(Over here, list the powers that you wish your attorney-in-fact should have, and the assets for which he/she might be required to make decisions, and the scope of such decisions. State clearly the circumstances in which these powers would be limiting, and the circumstances in which they would not.)

I further wish to state that I may revoke this power of attorney at any time I may choose to, with a prior written notice to my Attorney-in-fact.

Date:
Signature:
Place:
Name:

Witnesses (Optional)

1. (complete name) (signature)

2. (complete name) (signature)

(County)

(State)

Notarization (Optional)

On the (day) day of (month) in (year), a Notary Public known to me appeared in person and proceeded with the execution of this document, and after being sworn, acknowledged the execution of this document for the purposes mentioned therein as carried out of his/her own volition.

(NOTARY PUBLIC)

My Commission Expires

(SEAL)

These are the basic forms for a general power of attorney and a durable power of attorney. They are not intended for one particular state, and are for the purpose of reference only. Some states have downloadable forms prepared in accordance with their particular statutes. For residents of other states, standardized forms prepared by law firms or other organizations are available. You can get a power of attorney made for any purpose in consultation with your lawyer.

It has to be kept in mind that only a person whom you trust completely should be invested with such authority as is granted by a document of the nature of a power of attorney. It also has to be carefully worded so as not to be ambiguous in any way. Remember that you can revoke the power of attorney as and when you wish.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an attorney/lawyer.