Colorado Power of Attorney Requirements

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

Colorado Power of Attorney Requirements

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

Colorado residents who want to ensure a trusted loved one has seamless access to handle their financial affairs or make medical decisions during periods of lifetime incapacity can create power of attorney documents. To be valid, powers of attorney in Colorado must meet certain requirements. If a power of attorney document does not meet the minimum required standards, loved ones may need to go to court to establish conservatorship or guardianship.

Middle aged woman looking over documents with elderly mother in home

Legal Requirements

You can create a power of attorney if you are at least 18 years old and understand the powers you are granting when you sign. Your Colorado power of attorney must be in writing, must identify your named agent(s), and must clearly define the authority you want your agent(s) to have. In addition, a notary public needs to witness your signature.

The Scope of Financial Power of Attorney

Financial powers of attorney authorize the agent(s) you name to handle financial transactions on your behalf, obtain information, and share information with financial providers. You can create financial powers of attorney that are broad, authorizing your agent to handle any type of transaction. Alternatively, you can limit the power to just certain types of transactions. For example, you might want to give someone power of attorney to handle a real estate matter for you, but you may not want them involved in banking or investment transactions.

A broad power of attorney does not necessarily cover all powers, though. Your financial power of attorney form must specifically state whether you want your agent to have authority over certain types of transactions, including gifting, beneficiary changes, transactions related to trusts, changing rights of survivorship, and other "hot powers". If you do not specifically grant these powers, your agent does not have authority to handle these matters.

Medical Power of Attorney

When you create a medical power of attorney, you authorize someone to act as your agent to carry out your wishes and make decisions about your health care. Your medical power of attorney can be simple, giving your agent broad decision-making authority. Alternatively, you can create a detailed medical power of attorney documenting your thoughts, beliefs, and wishes for care.

Drafting Considerations

Your power of attorney takes effect immediately when you sign it unless you specifically designate otherwise in the document. Financial powers of attorney are also presumed "durable" unless you indicate your intention to create a nondurable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney remains in effect during periods of lifetime incapacity or incompetence. Unless you include an expiration date, your agent has authority until the moment you die or until you revoke the document.

You can hire an attorney to draft your power of attorney documents, obtain forms from an office supply store and prepare them yourself, or hire an online service provider to create powers of attorney for healthcare and finances.

Regardless of which method you choose for creating your power of attorney forms, think carefully before appointing a family member or friend to act as your agent. Acting as an agent under a power of attorney is a big responsibility, so be confident the person you name is willing and able to assume that responsibility. You may name one or more successor agents to act on your behalf if the first-named agent dies or becomes incapacitated. You should trust the people you name to make decisions that are in your best interest and that align with your wishes and values.

Resources:

Colorado Uniform Power of Attorney Act

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