The Ins and Outs of a General Power of Attorney
There are many types of power of attorney, and if you don’t know which one covers your needs the most, we can help with that.
In this article, you can learn about the most important aspects of a general power of attorney. Aside from getting all the necessary information, you can use DoNotPay to create the most suitable general power of attorney document!
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives the authority to an individual or organization to act on another person’s behalf regarding important matters—property, finances, or medical and personal affairs.
Two parties are involved in creating a power of attorney:
- Principal—the person granting a power of attorney
- Agent or attorney-in-fact—the person authorized to make the decisions on the principal’s behalf
A power of attorney is not only for mentally or physically incapable individuals. You can authorize a person to handle legal issues that you might find complicated or take care of financial and personal matters while you’re away.
Power of attorney types differ from one another based on what they cover, how long they last, and what decisions they grant. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose between these types of POA:
A general power of attorney (GPA) allows the principal to appoint an agent who will handle their personal and financial matters while they’re alive and competent. Also known as an ordinary power of attorney, a GPA is a perfect option when you need someone to make your decisions for a limited amount of time. People usually opt for a GPA when they have to travel or move out of the country for several years.
A GPA cannot be used when you need to authorize someone to act on your behalf because you’re mentally or physically incapable. In those cases, you should choose a durable (lasting) power of attorney.
You don’t have to register a general power of attorney. GPA becomes effective as soon as the principal creates and the agent signs it.
With a general power of attorney, an agent is authorized to make a broad range of decisions—medical, personal, and financial.
Unlike GPA, a special power of attorney limits the decisions an attorney-in-fact can make, minimizing the responsibility you otherwise give to an agent. If you opt for a special POA, you can have more of them! You can appoint a family member to take care of your medical decisions and a business partner to act on your behalf when it comes to financial and business matters.
You can create a general power of attorney on your own, but you have to check and meet your state’s legal requirements first.
In the following table, you will find the steps you need to take to create a legally valid general power of attorney:
|Identify the parties||In this section, you should identify the principal and attorney-in-fact by providing information such as:
|Decide financial powers||GPAs are mostly used to delegate financial powers while the principal is away. That’s why it’s important to define them first. About half of U.S. states follow the Uniform Power of Attorney Act that outlines powers given to attorney-in-fact, including:
|Delegate other powers||A principal can give as many powers to an agent as they want. The GPA should state what those powers are. The principal can also include additional special instructions in this section if they find it necessary|
|Provide additional information||Before finalizing the document, the principal should include the following information:
|Get the general power of attorney notarized||You should check your state’s requirements to see if the GPA has to be notarized. Even if it doesn’t, it is best to sign your general power of attorney before a notary and two witnesses|
|File the letter||In some states, you are required to file the power of attorney letter with the court to make it legally valid|
Transferring powers to another individual or organization is not something you should take lightly. Making a power of attorney should be taken with precaution—you wouldn’t want to make a mistake or forget an important section. That is why you should leave creating a POA to pros!
DoNotPay has a useful product that can draw up a power of attorney according to your preferences and state requirements!
Here is everything you need to do:
- Access DoNotPay
- Choose the Power of Attorney feature
- Provide all the required information
We will make a customized POA and two notices for you and your agent to read before signing. After signing the POA, you can then get it notarized using DoNotPay’s Notarize Any Document tool.
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