Upon downloading a few copies of a power of attorney template, you might be thinking that preparing such a legal document is a simple task. After all, authorizing letters are often less than ten pages long. However, it should be pointed out that it would still be crucial to gain sufficient knowledge about policies regarding a power of attorney. Doing so is the only way to develop a legal instrument that is synonymous with peace of mind. Worry not, though, as there are only three main POA requirements that you should keep in mind when drafting a power of attorney.
When preparing a POA, it is imperative to consider “capacity.” In the context of law, capacity pertains to the ability of an individual to make decisions and carry out essential tasks properly. For this very reason, two general variants of the POA exist, one that loses its validity when the grantor fails to exhibit “capacity” and another that remains effective regardless of what happens. Indeed, when creating a power of attorney, you should never fail to specify if the standard rules on capacity would bind it.
There are two ways you need to consider legal capacity here. The first one is that you, as the POA creator (principal), must be of sound mind (capable). The second one is determining whether the POA agent loses their authority once the principal becomes incapacitated. The latter implies adding the durability clause to the document, making it a durable power of attorney that will be in effect even upon the principal’s incapacitation.
Finding the Right Witness
Without a doubt, it is also vital to focus your attention on finding the right witness. At this point, you probably have one question in mind: is it true that witnesses are merely anyone who would be willing to sign the document for the sake of completing it? Well, the answer to such a question is both yes and no. To put it simply, even though witnesses only have to sign the papers, they must meet a few requirements. For one, such individuals should be of legal age and sound mind. In addition, they should not be related in any way to both the grantor and the attorney-in-fact.
After making it a point that the power of attorney that you are preparing is sufficiently detailed and has been signed by suitable witnesses, it would then be a must to make sure that all copies of the document are signed by you and your representative. However, it should be emphasized that it would be most advantageous to have the letter notarized for it to be considered a valid legal instrument. Of course, you should also spend enough time to check whether there are state-specific policies about the power of attorney that you might need to satisfy. Many states require POA forms to be acknowledged by a notary public, especially the durable ones.
Template as a Guide
To reiterate, you should clearly indicate in the document whether the power to be granted would be revoked if ever you have been incapacitated. Also, you should pay attention to all policies that pertain to witness suitability: age and relation are two important words to remember.
Having the legal document signed by all the parties involved and subsequently notarized is a must as well. All in all, you should always keep in mind that writing a POA is not merely about following a template. It is a task that involves some prior research as well.