The Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables you, the Principal, to appoint a trusted person, the Agent, to handle your affairs in certain situations. This document can be extremely beneficial in circumstances where you’re unavailable, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to make decisions concerning your property.
By setting out clear terms, it provides a legal framework that helps protect the interests of everyone involved – the Principal, the Agent, and any third parties like buyers, sellers, or renters of the property. It’s important to understand each part of the form, so let’s break it down section by section.
This section establishes who is involved in the power of attorney agreement. It records the date the agreement comes into effect, and who the Principal and the Agent are.
This is you or whoever is providing the power of attorney. Here, you fill in your full name and your mailing address.
The importance of providing an address lies in ensuring official correspondence and legal matters can be directed to the right place.
For instance, suppose you are John Doe residing at 123 ABC Street, New York. You’ll fill in “John Doe” in the principal field and your address in the address space.
The Agent is the person you are appointing to make decisions on your behalf.
Here, you should fill in the full name of the person you trust, along with their mailing address for similar reasons to the Principal’s address.
Say, your trusted friend or relative is Jane Smith living at 456 DEF Street, New York. You’ll fill in “Jane Smith” as the agent and her address accordingly.
This section asks you to designate a secondary agent who will act on your behalf if the initial Agent cannot serve for any reason.
If you don’t wish to appoint an additional agent, check the first box.
However, if you want another trusted individual to step in, check the second box and provide their name and mailing address.
Think about it like having a backup system. For instance, if Jane Smith (the initial Agent) falls ill or is otherwise unable to perform her duties, you might want to have your brother, Michael Roe, at 789 GHI Street, New York, as the secondary agent.
This part clarifies whether this power of attorney applies to a single property or multiple properties. Check the box that aligns with your needs and provide the details of the property or properties as required.
Suppose you own a beach house at 101 JKL Boulevard, Miami. If the power of attorney is only for this property, check the “A Single-Property” box and write down the beach house address.
Here, you define the scope of the power you’re granting your Agent. This section lets you authorize your Agent to handle selling, purchasing, management, or financing related to the real estate property.
Each option also includes additional specific powers like accepting closing proceeds, finalizing documents for purchase, managing day-to-day operations, or dealing with financing-related aspects.
If you want your Agent to be able to sell your property and handle all related transactions, you would initial and check the “Selling” box.
This section specifies the duration of the power of attorney, giving three options:
If you want this agreement to end on a specific date, check the first box and write the date in the space provided.
If you want the agreement to end when you’re no longer able to think for yourself (non-durable), check the second box.
If you want the agreement to continue until your death or you revoke it, check the third box.
If you’re traveling abroad for six months and want the power of attorney to only last during that period, you’d choose the first option and specify the end date.
This last part asks you to decide on the continuity of this agreement in case you become incapacitated.
If you don’t want the agreement to remain valid in such a case, check the first box.
However, if you want the power of attorney to persist even if you become unable to think for yourself, check the second box.
For example, if you’re undergoing major surgery and there’s a risk of prolonged recovery, you may want to make the power of attorney durable to ensure your affairs can still be managed.
This section of the form asks how you will validate the power of attorney document. This usually involves a third party to ensure the document is legally binding. It provides three options:
If a notary public will witness and verify the document, initial and check this box. Notaries are state-certified individuals who ensure the authenticity of your signature and prevent fraud.
For example, imagine you’re at a bank where a notary public service is provided. The notary will ask for your ID, watch you sign the document, and then stamp it to certify your identity.
If one person is witnessing your signature, check this box. The witness’s role is to confirm that you are indeed the one signing the document, acting as an extra layer of security against forgery or fraud.
Suppose your friend Peter is present when you’re signing the document. He can serve as your witness.
If two individuals are witnessing your signature, check this box. This provides additional assurance that the Principal (you) are signing the document willingly.
Consider this: you’re signing your power of attorney document at a family gathering. Both your sister, Emily, and cousin, Richard, are present and can serve as your two witnesses.
After you’ve made your selection, you’re expected to sign, print your name, and put the date in the spaces provided.
This is the space where the notary public confirms that they have verified your identity and witnessed you signing the document willingly. The notary will fill out this part, so you don’t need to write anything here.
This section is for the witness or witnesses (if applicable). They attest that you signed the document willingly, are of sound mind, and at least 18 years old. They also assert that no one has unduly influenced you to sign.
The witness(es) will need to: sign and print their name, provide their mailing address for future correspondence or validation, and provide their phone number for any necessary direct communication.
In conclusion, completing a Power of Attorney form is not just a legal requirement but also a proactive step in ensuring smooth management of your affairs when you can’t handle them personally.
This form safeguards your interests, providing a structure that the Agent must adhere to while also keeping other parties aware of the agent’s limits.
While it can seem complex, understanding each section makes it simpler and less daunting.
Remember, it’s not just about filling in blanks, but also about planning ahead and ensuring your property matters are in safe hands.
As always, when dealing with legal documents like this, it’s advisable to seek professional advice if you’re unsure about anything.