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Learn more about Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

When you need a little help making big decisions, a Power of Attorney form (also known as a POA) allows you to give permission to another person or entity (your agent) to act on your behalf. Your agent doesn't have to be a lawyer, and their power is defined entirely by you. A Power of Attorney can be general, granting broad authority over all of your medical and financial affairs, or it may be limited, giving your agent a defined set of responsibilities only in certain situations.

You can choose to create a Durable Power of Attorney form, meaning that your agent's powers remain in effect if you become incompetent, or you can create a Springing Power of Attorney form or Conditional POA, meaning that your agent is only granted authority once a certain event happens, such as military deployment or disability. Whether you're going to be unavailable, or you want to prepare for unexpected illness, our simple Power of Attorney template can help you to ensure that someone you trust will manage your finances and health care with your best interest in mind.


Use a Power of Attorney Form if:

  • You want to authorize someone to handle your medical and financial affairs in the event that you are absent or away from home.
  • You want to authorize someone to handle your medical and financial affairs in the event that you are mentally incapacitated.
  • You want to authorize someone to act on your behalf in another specific situation.

How to Get Power of Attorney (POA)

The process for getting power of attorney varies depending on your situation and whether or not you are the grantor of the rights or the grantee. Read more below to learn how to give, obtain or revoke power of attorney.

Give Power of Attorney
The first step in giving power of attorney is to choose an agent, the person who can act on your behalf. You may prefer for your agent to be a family member, a longtime friend, or a trusted professional, such as your lawyer, doctor or accountant. This person must be at least eighteen years old. If you would prefer to have multiple co-agents work as a team (as with a Dual Power of Attorney), or if you would like to name a successor in the event that your primary attorney-in-fact is unable or unwilling, now is a good time to select those people, as well.

Before starting your free Power of Attorney form, have a conversation with the agents you've chosen to discuss why you're giving them power of attorney and how it will work, including the duration of their responsibilities and any compensation. These terms will be included in your POA form, but having this conversation before completing the template can help to prevent misunderstandings.

To fill out the durable Power of Attorney template, you should have the addresses and phone numbers of your agents on hand. You may also consider reviewing the following documents to ensure that you've got all of your legal matters covered:

  • Existing Will, Trust or other Power of Attorney forms
  • Financial paperwork: Bank statements and stock/bond information
  • Property deeds

Once you've completed your printable Power of Attorney template, you'll need to download it and have it signed. Signing requirements vary from state to state—we'll make sure you know what's required after you've created your durable Power of Attorney document. In some states, you must have the form signed by a notary public and/or witnesses to your signature. Do not sign the POA form until you have the required individuals present to observe your signature. Note that you also need to have the addresses and phone numbers of the witnesses to the document, if any. Also, some notaries charge a fee for signing, stamping or sealing a document. Once the Power of Attorney form is signed, be sure to give a copy to your agents and let them know where you plan to keep the original.

Obtain Power of Attorney for a Parent or Relative
For you to become an agent or attorney-in-fact, your parent or relative must knowingly and willingly sign a durable Power of Attorney form in the presence of a notary and/or witnesses (depending on your state.) If they reside in a different state, be sure that the durable Power of Attorney form is made for their state of residence, not yours. If your parent is hospitalized or in a nursing home or hospice care, you may be able to find a notary on staff to witness the signing. Otherwise, you should hire a mobile notarization service.

If your parent suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's, you may be required to present a letter from a physician stating that they can still understand what's being signed in order for the POA to be valid. If your parent is deemed unable to make their own decisions, then they are not legally able to sign a Power of Attorney form. If this is the case, you may be able to become a conservator (or adult guardian) instead. Conservators also have the authority to handle medical and financial matters, however the process of becoming one involves going before a judge. If you would like to proceed as a conservator, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

If your parent passes away, then the durable Power of Attorney form is no longer valid and other estate planning documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, take precedence.

Get a Power of Attorney for a Child
Parents or legal guardians of minor children can give temporary authority to another adult relative or caretaker using a Power of Attorney for a Child form. It is important to note that you can only grant parental rights for a defined period of time—no more than six months in many states.

Revoke Power of Attorney or Change Your Attorney-in-Fact
You can cancel or revoke a signed Power of Attorney form at any time, regardless of the reason. The revocation should be made in writing using a Revocation of Power of Attorney form, and you must provide notice to your attorney-in-fact under the POA that you are revoking.

Once you have revoked the original POA, you can update your Power of Attorney template or create a new one. When changing your Power of Attorney form, it is important to revoke the original, as it may still be considered valid unless it is explicitly revoked in writing.


Types of Power of Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney vs. Springing Power of Attorney
In estate planning, it's often smart to make your Power of Attorney form "durable." A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is effective even if you're incapacitated or become mentally incompetent. The DPOA is sometimes called an Enduring Power of Attorney.

On the other hand, a Springing Power of Attorney form, such as a Military Power of Attorney or a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, only goes into effect after a certain condition is met, often as a result of travel abroad or illness.

General Power of Attorney vs. Limited Power of Attorney
While a general Power of Attorney form gives your agents broad authority over your financial or medical affairs, a limited or special Power of Attorney form allows you to define their responsibilities within a narrow scope. For example, if you would prefer to have your spouse manage your personal financial decisions and your business partner manage business decisions, you can use separate Limited Power of Attorney templates to handle this.

If you are looking to appoint a trusted decision maker specifically for health care, you can also use our customizable Medical Power of Attorney form. Unlike a Living Will, which only addresses deathbed concerns, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care covers all medical decisions and can include provisions for deathbed treatment.

If you have questions about what POA forms are right for handling your financial and medical matters, you can always ask a lawyer. To learn more about estate planning, check out our guide to Estate Planning Basics or review our selection of Estate Planning documents.

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Learn more about Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

When you need a little help making big decisions, a Power of Attorney form (also known as a POA) allows you to give permission to another person or entity (your agent) to act on your behalf. Your agent doesn't have to be a lawyer, and their power is defined entirely by you. A Power of Attorney can be general, granting broad authority over all of your medical and financial affairs, or it may be limited, giving your agent a defined set of responsibilities only in certain situations.

You can choose to create a Durable Power of Attorney form, meaning that your agent's powers remain in effect if you become incompetent, or you can create a Springing Power of Attorney form or Conditional POA, meaning that your agent is only granted authority once a certain event happens, such as military deployment or disability. Whether you're going to be unavailable, or you want to prepare for unexpected illness, our simple Power of Attorney template can help you to ensure that someone you trust will manage your finances and health care with your best interest in mind.


Use a Power of Attorney Form if:

How to Get Power of Attorney (POA)

The process for getting power of attorney varies depending on your situation and whether or not you are the grantor of the rights or the grantee. Read more below to learn how to give, obtain or revoke power of attorney.

Give Power of Attorney
The first step in giving power of attorney is to choose an agent, the person who can act on your behalf. You may prefer for your agent to be a family member, a longtime friend, or a trusted professional, such as your lawyer, doctor or accountant. This person must be at least eighteen years old. If you would prefer to have multiple co-agents work as a team (as with a Dual Power of Attorney), or if you would like to name a successor in the event that your primary attorney-in-fact is unable or unwilling, now is a good time to select those people, as well.

Before starting your free Power of Attorney form, have a conversation with the agents you've chosen to discuss why you're giving them power of attorney and how it will work, including the duration of their responsibilities and any compensation. These terms will be included in your POA form, but having this conversation before completing the template can help to prevent misunderstandings.

To fill out the durable Power of Attorney template, you should have the addresses and phone numbers of your agents on hand. You may also consider reviewing the following documents to ensure that you've got all of your legal matters covered:

Once you've completed your printable Power of Attorney template, you'll need to download it and have it signed. Signing requirements vary from state to state—we'll make sure you know what's required after you've created your durable Power of Attorney document. In some states, you must have the form signed by a notary public and/or witnesses to your signature. Do not sign the POA form until you have the required individuals present to observe your signature. Note that you also need to have the addresses and phone numbers of the witnesses to the document, if any. Also, some notaries charge a fee for signing, stamping or sealing a document. Once the Power of Attorney form is signed, be sure to give a copy to your agents and let them know where you plan to keep the original.

Obtain Power of Attorney for a Parent or Relative
For you to become an agent or attorney-in-fact, your parent or relative must knowingly and willingly sign a durable Power of Attorney form in the presence of a notary and/or witnesses (depending on your state.) If they reside in a different state, be sure that the durable Power of Attorney form is made for their state of residence, not yours. If your parent is hospitalized or in a nursing home or hospice care, you may be able to find a notary on staff to witness the signing. Otherwise, you should hire a mobile notarization service.

If your parent suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's, you may be required to present a letter from a physician stating that they can still understand what's being signed in order for the POA to be valid. If your parent is deemed unable to make their own decisions, then they are not legally able to sign a Power of Attorney form. If this is the case, you may be able to become a conservator (or adult guardian) instead. Conservators also have the authority to handle medical and financial matters, however the process of becoming one involves going before a judge. If you would like to proceed as a conservator, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

If your parent passes away, then the durable Power of Attorney form is no longer valid and other estate planning documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, take precedence.

Get a Power of Attorney for a Child
Parents or legal guardians of minor children can give temporary authority to another adult relative or caretaker using a Power of Attorney for a Child form. It is important to note that you can only grant parental rights for a defined period of time—no more than six months in many states.

Revoke Power of Attorney or Change Your Attorney-in-Fact
You can cancel or revoke a signed Power of Attorney form at any time, regardless of the reason. The revocation should be made in writing using a Revocation of Power of Attorney form, and you must provide notice to your attorney-in-fact under the POA that you are revoking.

Once you have revoked the original POA, you can update your Power of Attorney template or create a new one. When changing your Power of Attorney form, it is important to revoke the original, as it may still be considered valid unless it is explicitly revoked in writing.


Types of Power of Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney vs. Springing Power of Attorney
In estate planning, it's often smart to make your Power of Attorney form "durable." A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is effective even if you're incapacitated or become mentally incompetent. The DPOA is sometimes called an Enduring Power of Attorney.

On the other hand, a Springing Power of Attorney form, such as a Military Power of Attorney or a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, only goes into effect after a certain condition is met, often as a result of travel abroad or illness.

General Power of Attorney vs. Limited Power of Attorney
While a general Power of Attorney form gives your agents broad authority over your financial or medical affairs, a limited or special Power of Attorney form allows you to define their responsibilities within a narrow scope. For example, if you would prefer to have your spouse manage your personal financial decisions and your business partner manage business decisions, you can use separate Limited Power of Attorney templates to handle this.

If you are looking to appoint a trusted decision maker specifically for health care, you can also use our customizable Medical Power of Attorney form. Unlike a Living Will, which only addresses deathbed concerns, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care covers all medical decisions and can include provisions for deathbed treatment.

If you have questions about what POA forms are right for handling your financial and medical matters, you can always ask a lawyer. To learn more about estate planning, check out our guide to Estate Planning Basics or review our selection of Estate Planning documents.

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