Where can I get the power of attorney forms?
Power of attorney (POA) forms are easy to obtain as downloadable templates.
Some websites only offer various types of power of attorney templates that focus on real estate, health care decisions, financial matters, and other needs.
Others go a step further and provide a document management platform that streamlines the process of signing, delivery, and oversight.
As a resident of the US, you can also obtain power of attorney forms from a variety of sources, including the following:
- Online legal platforms
- Law firms and legal aid organizations
- Financial institutions
- Government agencies like the IRS
Remember that not every website can guarantee the highest quality and accuracy for the forms.
A safe way to get a valid and fitting one is by retrieving it from trusted online platforms such as PandaDoc.
What is a power of attorney document?
Imagine being in a medical emergency, one where you can’t communicate your desired treatment choices.
If you have a signed medical power of attorney that has designated an attorney-in-fact (an agent) to act on your behalf, you have entrusted that person to undertake health care decision-making for you (the principal), in accordance with your wishes.
There are different types of powers of attorney, each granting your agent various degrees of authority.
For instance, a limited power of attorney can boil down your agent’s authority to carry out specific, stipulated actions, while a general power of attorney will allow them to manage your bank accounts, tax returns, or personal property.
Depending on the purpose of your POA — whether you’re considering a medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, a POA for retirement plans, tax matters, or cases involving military service — you’ll likely require a form that speaks to your unique needs in order for it to be legally valid.
Your choice of power of attorney form(s), in most cases, should also be “state-specific” in order to factor in and comply with the state laws of your residence.
What should I consider before choosing a form?
To begin with, there is one consideration that will shape all others, and that is the following:
- Are you choosing a power of attorney form to fill out and assign an agent — another person or party — to act on your behalf? (In this scenario, you are the principal.)
- Are you choosing a POA form to help a relative or acquaintance fill out to assign an agent to act on their behalf? (In this scenario, you may be the agent, acting as an attorney-in-fact, or you may be simply helping the principal fill out the paperwork.)
Once you’ve determined your role with respect to the power of attorney form, evaluate four key factors essential to deciding which form(s) you obtain.
Nature of responsibilities
What power you wish to delegate and its scope will influence your choice of the most appropriate form.
Will the POA cover all financial decisions? All medical decisions? All decisions for a specified amount of time, such as when the principal is out of the country?
Choice of agent
The person entrusted with power of attorney responsibilities must comprehend their role of acting in the best interest of the principal — including cases of the principal being incapacitated.
(Generally speaking, an agent is a family member, a reliable friend, or a legal professional.)
Alignment with legal requirements
Each jurisdiction has its own legal restrictions for creating a valid POA.
Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your state to make sure you choose a form that will give your agent legal power for all requisite decision-making — health care, estate planning, etc. — and distributing assets, if applicable, to the chosen beneficiaries.
When you’re choosing a power of attorney form, think about the principal’s retirement (whether you are the principal or you are assisting the principal).
Ensure the form lets the agent properly and legally manage savings, investments, real property, and so forth.
What are possible power of attorney restrictions imposed by state law?
Although each state can have specific restrictions, which vary depending on the form type and your purpose, the common restrictions are:
Some states may require you to sign the power of attorney document yourself, along with the agent and one or more witnesses, and then have it notarized by a notary public.
In California, New York, Florida, and some other states, you are obliged to have specific language or clauses included in your durable power of attorney to make it valid.
Scope of powers
Some states also limit the scope of power that can be granted to an attorney-in-fact.
In certain states, you may be obliged to notify your agent and any third parties in writing if changing circumstances lead to a revocation of power of attorney.
Make sure to have comprehensive information about state-specific restrictions understood before you get bogged down in a complex life situation.
Otherwise, you might realize that your form is invalid and the assigned agent doesn’t have the legal power to represent the best interests of the principal when it’s needed most.
Can I use a POA from another country in the USA?
In short, yes.
That hinges on the type and purpose of the POA.
Most importantly, your form must comply with relevant state law.
You may also need to sign the form before a notarizing official at a local US embassy or consulate.
POA forms made easy with PandaDoc
You can choose from PandaDoc’s vast selection of templates to find a form tailored to your specific requirements.
After completing your POA form, you can share it or store it securely for future reference.
And remember to seek legal advice in order to make well-informed decisions aligned with your particular case.
Be confident with a POA that ensures your interests are safeguarded by a person you trust.