How to Appoint a Power of Attorney

By Anna Assad

A power of attorney allows one person to act on behalf of another person in various matters, including health or finances. You may give another person, known as your agent or attorney-in-fact, power of attorney as long as you're mentally competent. You must draft a power of attorney document that meets the legal requirements in your state in order to give your agent authority.


General and special powers of attorney for finances allow your agent to act on your behalf in financial matters. If you're giving your agent broad powers, you'll need a general power of attorney. If you want to limit her authority to specific matters, you'll need a special power of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney gives your agent the authority to make medical decisions for you if you can't. For example, if you're in a coma, your agent makes your treatment decisions.

Agent Selection

Your agent will handle sensitive financial or health matters for you. If your agent is incompetent, dishonest or doesn't take your directions seriously, she may cause you harm and not act in your best interests. When choosing an agent, choose someone who is responsible, reliable and able to make decisions. A close family member, such as your child or spouse, is often a good choice for your agent, but talk to the person to make sure she's ready to handle the responsibility first.

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Once you've chosen an agent, you need to decide what type of powers you want to give her and when. A healthcare power of attorney is only effective if you're incapacitated, but a general power of attorney for finances may be durable or springing. A durable power of attorney comes into effect as soon as you sign it and remains effective, even if you become incapacitated. A springing power of attorney is only effective when the "springing" event you defined in the power of attorney itself, such as your incapacitation, occurs. You may give your agent any powers allowed under your state's laws. Financial areas include banking transactions, real estate sales, debt collection and gift-giving. The healthcare power of attorney allows your agent to make medical decisions for you in general, but you may limit her power. For example, you may include wording that forbids your agent from consenting to a specific treatment for you.


Your power of attorney must comply with your state's laws. Laws for powers of attorney differ by state. In most cases, you must put the power of attorney in writing, sign the document and have your signature notarized. Your agent may have to sign as well. Even if your state doesn't require notarization, having your signature notarized eliminates any doubt about your signature's validity. If you're going to use a power of attorney for real estate, you'll need to file the document in the county land records. You may give a copy of your healthcare power of attorney to your doctor so your doctor is aware of your agent's authority in the event of your incapacitation.


You may end your power of attorney for any reason. State laws differ on power of attorney revocation. Common revocation methods include destroying the document and putting the revocation in writing. You should notify your agent, as well as any third parties with whom your agent is involved, such as a bank, in writing that you're revoking authority.

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Can a Power of Attorney Take Money?

When you give someone a power of attorney to accomplish tasks on your behalf, you make that person your agent, and his actions have the same legal authority as if you had taken those same actions. For example, if you give your agent authority to access your bank accounts, he can take money from the account. However, your agent has a legal duty to act in your best interests, so he can’t use the money for his own benefit.

Laws for Power of Attorney in New Hampshire

New Hampshire financial power of attorney laws set forth the rules and limitations under which a person, known as the principal, may grant authority to another person, known as the agent, to act on their behalf. The agent acting for the principal can do whatever the principal has allowed her to do, as outlined in the power of attorney document. In New Hampshire, an agent may have broad authority that includes signing the principal's real estate deal papers and completing the principal's banking.

Power of Attorney Guidelines for State of Oregon

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf if you become incompetent of incapacitated. The Oregon Revised Statutes set forth the requirements for a valid power of attorney, who may serve as your agent and how the power of attorney may be used.

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