Can a Power of Attorney Sign a Will in MA?

by A.L. Kennedy
If you are incapacitated, your power of attorney may not sign your will for you.

If you are incapacitated, your power of attorney may not sign your will for you.

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A power of attorney gives someone the legal ability to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated, according to the American Bar Association. The person with power of attorney may handle your finances, make medical decisions and perform similar actions on your behalf. However, a power of attorney may not perform certain actions regarding your will.

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Power of Attorney

A power of attorney can take control of your personal decisions if and when you become unable to make those decisions yourself, according to the American Bar Association. You must name the person you wish to have power of attorney before you become incapacitated, so that your wishes will be known and followed if you do become unable to express them. A power of attorney does not, however, have the power to sign your will after you are incapacitated, according to the Massachusetts General Laws.

Requirements for Signing the Will

The Massachusetts General Laws state that you may sign your will yourself. If you are physically incapable of signing your will, you may appoint someone to sign it on your behalf. This person must sign your will in your presence and at your "express direction," meaning that you must have the mental capacity to tell the person to sign your will for you.

Who May Sign

If you are unable to sign your own Massachusetts will but are capable of naming someone to do it for you, you may choose anyone who is a legal adult and of sound mind, according to the Massachusetts General Laws. The person who signs your will for you may be the same person you named to have power of attorney. However, the power of attorney does not give him the power to sign your will -- you do, by directing him to do it while you watch.

Additional Requirements

In addition to signing your own will or instructing someone else to do it while you watch, your Massachusetts will must also be signed by two witnesses. These witnesses must be of sound mind, and must show that they watched you sign your will by signing your will themselves in your presence. Since you must have the mental capacity to understand that your witnesses are signing your will in order for the will to be valid, do not let this step wait until you are incapacitated, for then it will be too late.