Legal Requirements for a Power of Attorney

Legal Requirements for a Power of Attorney

There are two essential elements of a valid power of attorney:

  1. Soundness of Mind: The person signing the document must be mentally competent (i.e., understand what is being signed and what it does). In addition, he or she must be acting by choice, without undue pressure from anyone.
  2. Witnesses: In most states, your signature on your power of attorney must be notarized, or at least two adults, unrelated to you and each other, and who are not named as the attorney-in-fact, must witness you sign the power of attorney.
In some states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, you must record the power of attorney with your county recorder's office. Your LegalZoom Power of Attorney will include state-specific instructions to help you finalize and make valid your document.
  • Introduction to Power of Attorney
    A power of attorney is a document that lets you name someone to make decisions on your behalf. This appointment can take effect immediately if you become unable to make those decisions on your own. For example, if you become mentally incapacitated, or leave the country for a period of time, you...
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  • Definition of a Power of Attorney
    A power of attorney is a document you can use to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. The person you designate is called an "attorney-in-fact." The appointment can be effective immediately or can become effective only if you are unable to make decisions on...
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  • Durable Power of Attorney Permissions
    You can give your attorney-in-fact as many or as few powers as you want. A power of attorney can authorize your agent to do any or all of the following on your behalf:
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  • Legal Requirements for a Power of Attorney
    There are two essential elements of a valid power of attorney:
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  • Married Couples and Power of Attorney
    You should not assume your spouse will have total control of your finances if you become incapacitated. Although your spouse has some rights over property you own together, like joint bank accounts, he or she is restricted from doing certain things with that property. For example, generally both...
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  • Putting a Power of Attorney into Effect
    A durable power of attorney can be drafted so it becomes effective as soon as you sign it. Alternately, you can specify that it will not become effective unless a doctor certifies that you have become incapacitated. This is called a "springing" power of attorney. It...
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