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Massachusetts Power of Attorney basics

A Massachusetts Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives you the ability to reach into the future and influence how decisions made on your behalf might be handled. When you create a Power of Attorney, you decide who you want to act or make decisions on your behalf, and you get to decide when that power begins and ends. Do you want this power to be broad or narrow? Do you want it to take effect immediately or on the happening of some particular date or event?

What is a Power of Attorney in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts Power of Attorney is a legal transfer of power from the Principal (the person creating the Power of Attorney) to another person (the Agent) in order to make decisions on the Principal's behalf. It can delegate power for financial, business, or health decision-making.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and something happens to you, the court will appoint someone to serve as a guardian or conservator. This person could end up being an independent third party (a stranger), and your family may even have to pay that person for their services. A Power of Attorney allows you to decide who that person should be in advance. You can choose someone who you think will act in accordance with your preferences because they actually know you, as well as in your best interests, based on your personal relationship.

How do I get a Power of Attorney in Massachusetts?

You can create your own Massachusetts Power of Attorney document for free using the Rocket Lawyer document builder. The Rocket Lawyer Massachusetts Power of Attorney may be used if:

  • You wish to give a trusted person broad authorization to act or make decisions for you if you are absent or incapable of making decisions on your own behalf.
  • You wish to give someone power to handle certain financial or legal issues in your absence or if you become ill.
  • You wish to authorize someone to act on your behalf in case you become legally incompetent or incapacitated.

Does a Power of Attorney need to be notarized in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law does not require that a Power of Attorney be notarized. However, in practice, documents that have been notarized may face a lower chance of being challenged in probate court. In addition to recommending that the Power of Attorney be notarized, most courts also recommend that the document be: (1) signed by the agent; and (2) recorded with the local court wherever the principal lives.

What is the difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney?

The main difference between a Durable Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney has to do with what happens when you become incapacitated. If you do not specify that your Power of Attorney is "durable," then there is a chance that it will become legally unenforceable once your mental state has changed.

A General Power of Attorney also refers to the nature of the powers that you are granting. The designation of being "general" means that your Agent will be entitled to engage in a variety of different decisions on your behalf, for example health-related decisions, financial decisions, and more.

A General Power of Attorney can be durable, it simply requires the use of the specific phrase, "This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal, or lapse of time."

Both a General Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney would end at the time of the Principal's death, the Principal being the person who created the Power of Attorney.

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Sample Massachusetts Power of Attorney

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