How Should Documents be Signed as the Agent Using a Power of Attorney?
Q: I was appointed the agent for my brother with a power of attorney but I'm not sure how
to sign his papers.
A: You must let those you are dealing with know that you are acting in the capacity as
agent for the principal by writing or printing the principal's name
and by indicating "agent" next to your name in one of the
following ways: (Name of Principal) by (Your Signature) as Agent, or
(your signature) as Agent for (Name of Principal).
What is a Durable Power of Attorney vs. a Non-Durable Power of Attorney?
Q: Why would I need a durable power of attorney form instead of a non-durable one?
A: A durable power of attorney stays in effect despite your incapacity, so that your
representative may still act in your behalf even after you are
mentally incompetent to manage your own affairs. Therefore, the agent
should be a very trusted individual.
By making a durable general power of attorney, you can avoid having to go to court to
create a guardianship if you ever need someone to handle your
affairs, such as if an accident or disability strikes. A non-durable
power of attorney will end when you are no longer able to make
decisions for yourself and the agent cannot act for you if you are
Can I Make Health Care Decisions With a Power of Attorney?
Q: I'd like my sister to be able to carry out my wishes for life support and make medical
treatment decisions for me if something unfortunate happens. Will a
power of attorney form work for me?
A: Each state has its own laws regarding allowing others to make medical decisions for you.
In one state the documents may be called a health care power of
attorney, in another state it may be called something else, such as
an advance health care directive, medical power of attorney, etc.
Sometimes a living will form contains the option of appointing a
health care representative. The forms offered by USLegalforms are
state-specific and are regularly updated to comply with current state
What Happens When the Principal Dies?
Q: My uncle gave me his power of attorney but recently passed away and now the bank says I
can't pay his bills any longer. Is this true?
A: A power of attorney becomes void when the principal dies. Therefore, the executor or
administrator of the estate will need to handle the decedent's
debts out of the assets in the probate estate.
How Long is a Power of Attorney Effective?
Q: Is it possible for me to appoint an agent but still have the power to take back the
authority any time I want to?
A: All powers of attorney may be revoked at any time by the principal while the
principal remains mentally competent to make decisions. You have
flexibility in he duration of the agent's authority according to
the type of document you create:
- You can create a general durable power of attorney, which can remain effective until
- A non-durable power of attorney will terminate upon the principal's incapacity,
or until the time specified in the document.
- A springing power of attorney can specify a starting date, such as the happening of an
event or condition.
- A limited power of attorney may only be effective for the time needed for the stated
purpose(s) and state a starting and ending date.
Can the Agent Live in Another State?
Q: I live in Colorado, but would like to make my brother who lives in California my agent.
Is this a good idea?
A: A living will or medical power of attorney form that complies with the laws of the
state of residence should be used. A power of attorney is governed by
the law of the jurisdiction where the attorney-in-fact will be
carrying out his or her duties. Usually, this is where the
principal's property is located. It's typically not recommended
to appoint a personal representative who lives out-of-state, unless
the property or assets involved are also in the in another state.
When the agent's duties will be carried out in more than one state,
separate powers of attorney for each jurisdiction are recommended.
Can the Attorney-in-Fact be Sued for the Debts of the Principal?
A: If I agree to be an agent, is it possible for me to be held responsible and have to pay
the principal's debts out of my own pocket?
Q: As long as the agent acts within the authority of the power of attorney document in good
faith, the agent isn't personally liable for the principal's
debts. Only if the representative abuses or oversteps the authority
granted, will the agent need to be concerned about personal liability
for debts of the principal.
Can More Than One Agent Be Appointed?
Q: Can I name both my sisters to act as my agents in the same financial power of attorney?
A: Yes, it's possible to have co-agents and/or successor agents. The power of attorney may
specify that co-agents must act in agreement and require two
signatures on documents. The instrument itself should state whether
they can act independently of the other. This should be set forth in
the instrument itself.
Usually, when co-agents are appointed the authority granted applies to both agents. It is
recommended to create two separate limited powers of attorney
granting limited powers and assigning those limited to only one
One or two successor agents may also be named to take over as agent in the event the
original agent is mentally;incapacitated or otherwise