What do I do to become a power of attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 28, 2016
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What do I do to become a power of attorney?


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The person who will benefit from the power of attorney must complete the document and name you as his or her agent.

There are two different types of power of attorney documents: one is a power of attorney for healthcare that allows a person to oversee another's medical care; the other is a power of attorney for finances that empowers a named person to help manage another's money if needed.

For both kinds of powers of attorney, the arrangement is finalized by a person completing and signing a fairly simple form that appoints another person as his or her agent, either immediately or only after becoming mentally unable to make his or her own decisions.

You can get the form for a power of attorney for healthcare from the patient representative of a local hospital.

The form for a power of attorney for finances can be a bit more difficult to find. You can copy the suggested wording for the state's power of attorney for finances by searching the Internet for the state name, "Power of attorney for finances" and "statute." If you go the self-help route, be careful to avoid websites that will charge for such forms. You can also hire an experienced elder law or estate planning attorney to draw up a power of attorney for finances, which may be a wise idea if there is a lot of money at stake or a complicated plan for managing it.