What Is a General Power of Attorney: POA Meaning, Definition, and Types
A power of attorney, also known as a POA, is a legal document that allows you (as a principal) to assign someone (an attorney) to act on your behalf. There are many types of POAs and all have some specific uses. One of the most common types of powers of attorney is a general power of attorney.
A general power of attorney gives the attorney the power to manage the principal’s legal and financial affairs, for example, buying and selling real estate, paying bills, operating bank accounts, and managing investments on their behalf. This document is often used when people are travelling overseas or while someone is recovering from an illness or operation.
While inquiring into the matter, people often wonder what the difference is between a general power of attorney and durable power of attorney. Let’s clear that up. Both are used for authorizing someone to act on your behalf, but the key difference is that general POAs end right after the principal’s death or incapacitation, whereas durable POAs remain effective even after the principal becomes incapacitated. It is mainly useful for elderly parents who are in hospital, disabled, or chronically ill – to grant a power of attorney to their children.
Basic Tips for Filling Out a POA Form
The following steps will guide you through filling out a general power of attorney form:
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Select the template of the general power of attorney.
At the top of the blank form, you are required to provide your and your attorney's detailed personal information, including full name and contact address.
In paragraph I, you should list the powers that you wish to give – you can indicate them with the use of your initials.
Disclaimer: The templates here are provided for reference only and you should always talk to a professional for all legal matters.
In paragraph II, you should enter the name of the state where the power of attorney is to be executed.
In paragraph III, you specify the effective date and termination terms.
In paragraph IV, you warrant that the attorney is authorized to realize any of the powers listed by you under the power of attorney. Here, you are only required to provide the date you completed the form.
At the bottom of the form, you should confirm the full names of you and your attorney, insert the names and addresses of witnesses, and re-enter the state, the county, and the date the form was completed.
Finally, you and the attorney should sign the completed form to validate it. You can add a digital signature to your PDF, or you can sign a hard copy of the form.
Is it necessary to notarize a POA?
Unless specifically required by state or municipal law, the power of attorney does not have to be acknowledged before a notary public. However if you want to avoid bureaucratic hold-ups, we generally recommend to notarize your document.
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