If you are going to make a financial power of attorney without a lawyer, make sure the power of attorney form you use meets the following requirements. The power of attorney form should be:1. From a reputable legal publisher. Look for a publisher with an established history of publishing legal documents rather than relying on forms from the first site you find on the Web.2. Prepared according to the laws of the state where you reside as your principal residence. Although there are power of attorney forms all over the Internet, the one you choose needs to be prepared specifically for use in your state. Don't bother preparing a document that will be invalid or unenforceable under your state laws.
3. Up to date for the current year. State laws change all the time, including the laws applicable to estate planning documents. A free power of attorney form you get online may be outdated. As a result the form: a. could be missing language required for acceptance by a financial institution, b. may contain unenforceable provisions, or c. may not be executed according to current legal requirements.Notary acknowledgement and jurat language changes frequently as well. If your power of attorney form is not up to date, you may find yourself making a wasted trip to the notary only to find you have to redo your documents.4. The right type of form for your purpose. There are several different types of powers of attorney. Do you want to execute a durable power of attorney or a nondurable power of attorney? Do you want to grant your agent a general power with unlimited authority or only a limited power on a few specific matters? Choosing the right type of form is critical. Because powers of attorney are one of the most complex areas of estate planning, it is essential to have guidance from a lawyer. See our help with estate planning page.5. Complete. The form should contain all provisions you want to include. It should also contain all required signature lines, notary language, and space for the notarial seal, that may be required for the document to be legally enforceable in your state. See how to execute a POA.
Find Power of Attorney Forms
Estate planning software is not just a convenient way to make a will at home. Many leading brands of estate planning software also include forms for making other estate planning documents, such as a durable power of attorney for finances.If you need to make a power of attorney, the best option is to have it prepared by an attorney. Nevertheless, if you are going to make a power of attorney without a lawyer, then estate planning software is an option. Follow the instructions provided on how to execute the document in your state. One of the advantages of using estate planning software is you can print as many versions as you want without any additional cost.
Another option for purchasing power of attorney forms is using an online legal forms website. Several websites sell state specific power of attorney forms. You can purchase a power of attorney forms kit which typically includes several different types of power of attorney forms, such as a durable power of attorney for finances and a health care power of attorney.Purchasing a power of attorney form from an online legal forms website can be more expensive than using estate planning software, based on the cost per individual form. If you plan to make several other estate planning documents at the same time, such as a will or advance health care directive, buying estate planning software may be the less expensive option.
A Warning About Power of Attorney Forms
Heed the warnings on this page about using the right power of attorney forms. There are several reasons using the wrong form or relying on a free form from an unreliable source can spell disaster for you and your family.Banks and other financial institutions are increasingly skeptical of power of attorney documents. They have to be extremely careful about allowing a person who purports to be your agent to access your accounts, withdraw funds, and sell assets. Each financial institution establishes its own policies on what type of power of attorney documents it will accept. When the person named as your agent goes to a bank or brokerage firm to make a transaction on your account, he or she will have to present the power of attorney. If the financial representative finds the document does not meet strict requirements for the power of attorney to be valid, they may refuse your agent access to your account.
Problems with your power of attorney form can have serious consequences. If your agent cannot access your accounts, sell assets or make transactions on your behalf, your mortgage, rent, utilities, and other bills may go unpaid. Your agent may be unable to obtain funds to pay for your care or for the care of your children and pets. Your business could also be affected if the agent is unable to engage in transactions or make payments on your behalf due to an invalid power of attorney. If you are going to make a power of attorney, do it right.