Cities and Towns in the United States > Procedures > How to Set Up a Power of Attorney


Making decisions is mandatory for every human, whether great or small. The very basics of life depend on this one human ability. And while you may live knowing the future is secure, it’s vital to consider when you need assistance to make essential decisions.

If you live in the US, you may want to get acquainted with a power of attorney; here’s a read with the vital details about the process.

What is a power of attorney (POA)?

What is Power of Attorney, and When Might You Need It?

If you fall sick or are part of an accident that renders you incapacitated, you need someone to make decisions on your behalf. The US federal government provides a power of attorney to agents who can act on behalf of individuals in case of such eventualities.

These individuals will make choices regarding your health, finances, property, business, or military decisions, among other tasks you designate. And while this procedure is legal throughout America, the requirements and strategy for attaining this power aren’t the same in each state.

Who Can Make Power of Attorney?

Now that we have a power of attorney definition, let us demystify a belief that some people uphold. The common belief is that power of attorney is reserved for persons with property and chains of businesses. Contrary to this, power of attorney is available to anyone, regardless of financial status. Considering you can choose from a list of several types of POA, you can select one for health, finances, and property.

If you do not facilitate the process of making this provision, your family or business associates or your next of kin may have to go through a court process to gain these powers.

What Kinds of Powers Can You Give?

You have access to eight powers of attorney types, and there are:

1. Durable POA

You give powers to an agent to make decisions regarding your money, property, and legal affairs when you sign a durable POA. Depending on your agreement's particulars, this service becomes effective before or after you become incapacitated.

Non-durable POA

This type of power is given to your agent when a specific incident requires someone to step in. It becomes effective if you die, travels outside the country, a previous POA expires, or are declared incapacitated to handle decision-making. However, a non-durable POA is effective for a short period until family or business members decide who’s fit to be your successor.

Springing POA

Most POAs become effective once you sign the document. On the other hand, a springing power of attorney takes effect when a medical practitioner declares you to be mentally incapable of making a decision.

General POA

This power of attorney takes up a broad range of financial decision-making on your behalf. Depending on the circumstances, it can be durable, non-durable, or springing.

Limited POA

A principal can limit the amount of power given to an agent. This option, for instance, provides the agent with authority over decision-making that the principal previously approved.

Healthcare/Medical POA

When you get ill and can’t make health decisions for yourself, an agent steps in on your behalf if you have a signed healthcare power of attorney.

Financial POA

If you’ve invested in various niches and have amassed wealth, you should consider having a financial POA to help you manage the money when you want or can’t.

Military POA

If you’re in the military, you can assign an agent to make all decisions regarding your life that can be as small as paying the bills or as significant as conducting affairs for your business.

Requirements And Documentation Needed

Considering the magnitude of this decision, you must provide reasonable evidence to allow an attorney to step in to make decisions on your behalf if you are hindered from doing so by unavoidable circumstances. These requirements include the following:

You may need to provide more information depending on your state or other requirements to ascertain certain things before the document is effected.

Can You Make Power of Attorney from Abroad?

If you have assets in the US and live outside the country, you can solicit help from attorneys in the US over the internet or by mail. Mailing your application to a lawyer requires access to a reliable legal firm. You can download the application form on the internet, fill it out, and sign it, then send it to the attorney to put their signature to seal the agreement.

Online applications are also possible with the help of a few clicks. You must provide a digital signature to complete the application and let the attorney sign on their section.

POA Format

Arguably, you’re wondering how do you get power of attorney, right? But first, it’s essential to know that this document’s correct format is vital in solidifying the power of attorney agreement. The paper should state who you are, the city, and the state you come from. Next are your agent’s names, city, and state of origin.

The purpose of the document comes next. Here’s where you indicate the powers you give to your agent regarding your health and wealth. Indicate the dates when the document will be effective. Finally, the signatories should sign the document and indicate the date and location where the form was signed to make it effective.

Cost and Validity

Each state has varying amounts applicants will pay to have a power of attorney notarized. However, it ranges between $50 - $100. Nevertheless, the principal must pay additional attorney costs ranging between $35 - $1000 or more to access an authorized attorney for this service. How much you pay depends on the firm and location.

The document expires after the noted duration of the agreement lapses or until a suitable replacement is found to make decisions on your behalf. If you revoke a POA and sign a new one with a new attorney, the previous one ceases to be effective.

In a Nutshell

Learning how to get a power of attorney and completing the process is essential for any responsible US citizen. It is a procedure that ensures life doesn’t come to a screeching halt when something happens to you, or you’re unavailable to make crucial decisions immediately.

Look out for a trustworthy firm to help you set up a POA, or choose an attorney with the right expertise and intelligence to run your affairs in a sane manner. Take into consideration the application fee and other requirements that are essential to complete the process.