How to sign a power of attorney

There are situations in which you need to make an important decision, but you may not be available at the right time.

Or an occasion where you want a family member to decide on your behalf about your future medical care in case of an emergency.

In these scenarios, it is essential that you designate someone who is legally authorized to look after you in the event that you are unable to manage your affairs due to illness, accident, or old age.

Fortunately, you can solve this situation with a power of attorney.

At PandaDoc, we provide you with templates and tools to manage every legal document with ease.

Let’s now examine what a power of attorney is, where it can be used, and how to make one.

Power of attorney: Why do you need one?

In short, a power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that empowers one person to act on behalf of another, including a probate application.

In such a document, the person granting a power of attorney is called the principal, and the person receiving it is called the agent.

In practice, you need a POA when a principal is unable to sign necessary documents suffering from a disability or illness, whether temporary or permanent.

For example, if you manage real estate holdings and can no longer do so, a POA will transfer the decision-making to an agent of your choice.

Here are some situations where you will need power of attorney.

1. High-risk occupation

A POA document is a good option to think about if you work in a dangerous field that could result in injuries and prevent you from working.

For instance, the agent you choose can handle your finances while you recover. 

2. Problems related to old age

Loss of independence and autonomy is more likely as you get older.

With a POA, you choose a person you trust to legally look after your assets.

3. You require assistance

You can also use a POA to better manage your finances without waiting to be incapacitated.

For instance, you can assign a relative with expertise in real estate transactions.

Important note: A POA document is not final and can be terminated for a variety of reasons.

The most common is when the principal revokes the agreement or when the attorney-in-fact can no longer fulfill the stated responsibilities.

What are the different types of powers of attorney?

You should be aware that a power of attorney does not allow the agent to do whatever they want.

In fact, there are several types of POA, each with specific purposes and rules.

Here is a list of the different types of POA.

Healthcare power of attorney

In the event that the principal develops an unfavorable medical condition, medical power of attorney enables the agent to make decisions regarding the principal’s health.

Financial power of attorney

This document allows the agent to manage the principal’s business affairs, such as the management of investment accounts or tax returns in the event that the latter can no longer make financial decisions.

Durable power of attorney

A durable POA allows the agent to continue managing the principal’s affairs even when the principal is physically or mentally incapacitated.

Springing power of attorney

The goal is to activate the POA’s closures at a specific date after the document’s signature.

General power of attorney

This power of attorney allows the agent to make decisions in accordance with the contract as long as the principal remains mentally capable.

How to write a power of attorney document

Taking your time writing and clearly defining the attorney-in-fact responsibilities is essential.

After all, it is a transfer of responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Otherwise, the POA may be invalidated by local jurisdictions.

When writing your POA document, keep these important considerations in mind:

Select your template

Before you start writing, you must select your template.

You can do this using PandaDoc’s services, which provide you with legally valid pre-made templates for drafting your power of attorney.

However, some states have specific legal requirements and may expect a particular template.

Once you have your power of attorney form, you need to write the principal’s name as well as the full legal name of the attorney-in-fact.

Designate an agent or attorney-in-fact

Carefully choose your agent.

They must be someone you can rely on, capable of making difficult decisions, and most importantly, someone who will take care of you.

Finally, consider designating an agent who lives close to you, especially in the case of a healthcare power of attorney.

Grant authority to the agent

Even if the principal wishes to give general powers to the agent, each rule must be well-defined and not conflict with the state’s laws.

Responsibilities may include, for example, the management of your real estate, the ability to perform financial transactions with your bank account, or how your money can be invested in stocks.

Define a duration

Keep in mind that only the durable power of attorney remains valid for life once signed.

However, as your requirements may evolve, we recommend that you consult a lawyer to review the terms of your power of attorney on a regular basis.

Sign the power of attorney

Now that the terms of a power of attorney have been defined and decided upon, it requires signatures from both the principal and the agent.

Also, given the document’s importance, we recommend that it be notarized and that you keep a copy of the power of attorney. 

With PandaDoc, you can easily sign your documents online with an electronic signature in a legal and perfectly secure way.

Who can serve as power of attorney?

It is important for the principal to take the time to choose the power of attorney agent.

Because, in the end, the agent should ultimately make decisions in the principal’s best interest.

As long as it is done of your own free will and you are mentally competent, you technically have the ability to designate anyone as having POA status over your affairs.

In a practical case, it has to be a trusted and competent person who can manage your affairs, such as your loved ones, your close relatives, a friend, or even your lawyer.

Find templates for power of attorney with PandaDoc

You now have everything you need to create and sign your power of attorney.

Choose a PandaDoc template and use an electronic signature to protect your legal and administrative documents.