Creating a power of attorney can give you peace of mind by empowering someone you trust to manage your affairs on your behalf in certain situations. McMillan Metro’s DMV area. attorneys have helped many of our clients create individualized powers of attorney that meet their unique needs.
In this article, we’re going over the basics of creating a power of attorney in the D.C. area, including what it is, why you might need one, and how to create one that’s legally effective. Whether you’re simply planning for the future or handling a sudden unexpected crisis, knowing how to develop a power of attorney can make things less stressful.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney, commonly abbreviated as POA, is a legally binding document that grants authority to another person to act on your behalf. A POA may include making financial or medical decisions, managing your property, caring for your minor children, or something else.
Who Can You Name As an Agent on a Power of Attorney?
You can name any competent adult as your agent. You may also consider naming a successor agent who can take over in the event that your first choice is unavailable or unwilling to act.
Requirements for Creating a Power of Attorney
- You and your agents must be at least 18 years old
- You must have proper mental capacity: To create a power of attorney in D.C. and the surrounding DMV area, the principal (the person granting the authority) must have the cognitive ability to understand the nature and consequences of the document they are signing.
- Document(s) must be notarized: Some powers of attorney must be notarized to be legally valid. This means that the document must be signed in the presence of a notary, who will then affix their seal and signature to the record.
- Witnesses will need to be present
Steps to Creating a POA
To create a POA, follow these steps:
- Consult an Attorney: A knowledgeable attorney can help draft the proper documents to fit your needs. You should not try to do it on your own. It’s important to obtain legal advice to ensure you include all of the necessary information.
- Select an Agent: The first step in creating a power of attorney is selecting a competent adult to act as your agent. Consider someone you trust and who has your best interests in mind. As mentioned above, you will also want to name a successor agent in case your primary agent is unavailable.
- Sign the Document in Front of a Notary: Sign the document in front of a notary. Their stamp and signature on the record confirms that your signature is valid and legal.
- Store the Original Document in a Secure Location: The original POA document should be stored in a safe and secure location, such as a fireproof box or safe deposit box. Make sure your agent(s) know where to find the document in case they need it.
- Give a Copy of the POA to Your Agent: Provide your agent(s) with a copy of the POA document, assuring that they understand the delegation and have the authority to act on your behalf when necessary.
- Provide a Copy of the POA to Your Financial Institutions: This is optional, but you may want to provide a copy of the financial POA to your financial institutions, such as banks and brokerage firms, making it easier for your agent to get things done when the time comes. The same is true for healthcare POA’s – they should be given to your doctors.
When Does Power Of Attorney Go Into Effect?
The date & time that a POA goes into effect depends on the information in the POA. It may be effective immediately after you sign the document and have it notarized, or it may go into effect when specified events take place. It’s important to consult with your attorney to discuss the options and determine the pros & cons of each for your particular situation.
When Does Power Of Attorney End?
A POA typically ends when you pass away, but it can end for various other reasons, including your agent’s unavailability, invalidation by the court, or if you revoke it.
Importance of Seeking Legal Help When Creating a Power Of Attorney in the DMV Area
Creating Powers Of Attorney can be complex, and ensuring that your document is valid and fits your specific needs is essential. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand the legal requirements and provide peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out in the event of incapacity or other circumstances.
Contact McMillan Metro today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We’ll guide you through the process and ensure your document meets all legal requirements.