How to Use a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney gives an agent the right to act on behalf of another person, even after he becomes mentally incapacitated or otherwise rendered unable to make his own decisions and handle his affairs.
If you want to give someone such authority, one easy way to do so is through a statutory durable power of attorney. This is a form document whose content is mandated by the laws of state, and therefore the form for each state varies slightly.
5 Steps to Use a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
1. Designate the Parties
At the very least, the form will have a line to write in or type the names of the grantor and the agent. Some forms might also have room for their addresses.
2. Grant or Withhold Powers
Most statutory power of attorney forms will have a vertical listing of all the powers described in the statutes. The grantor usually must either initial beside the powers they are granting or cross out the powers withheld.
Some forms have a line designating that all the powers listed are granted. Be sure to read the instructions of your form carefully to ensure your markings reflect your actual intent.
3. Give Special Instructions
A few blank lines will be present below the listed powers on which the grantor can provide specific instructions to the agent. These often relate to the agent’s right to collect payment for their services and to transfer property of the grantor as a gift.
Any extensions or limitations to the agent’s power not specified in the list of powers should be included on these lines or attached as a separate sheet and referenced on the special instructions lines.
4. Designate Durability
Because the same statutory form is used for both durable and non-durable powers of attorney, the grantor will have to specificy that the power of attorney granted in the document is durable.
This is usually done by initially next to a statement to that effect or crossing out language to the contrary.
5. Sign and Notarize the Document
To take effect, the statutory power of attorney form must be signed by the grantor and notarized, though some states will allow two witnesses in place of a notary.
The document should be signed by the grantor in the presence of the witnesses.
The power of attorney document is only intended to codify an actual understanding between a grantor and their agent. Thus, before completing a statutory power of attorney, it is essential for the parties to consult, to reach an understanding as to the grantor’s intent, and for the agent to voluntarily accept the responsibilities. A durable power of attorney can be revoked at any time, ideally through a revocation document prepared specifically for the power of attorney being revoked.
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