Durable Power of Attorney in Arkansas

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Durable Power of Attorney in Arkansas

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Life can throw unexpected and sometimes unwelcome curveballs. A durable power of attorney (POA) is a legal planning tool that helps you prepare for them by appointing a trusted person to act on your behalf if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

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A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone power to act on your behalf typically for financial, property, or healthcare matters. When you create a POA, you are called the principal and the person to whom you give authority is called the agent, or attorney-in-fact. Despite the name, the agent does not need to be an attorney and can be almost any person you trust.

Rules Governing Powers of Attorney in Arkansas

Arkansas, like all states, has laws that govern powers of attorney. These laws set rules for things such as what language you must include, the agent's duties, and any required signatures and witnesses to the signing of the document. These laws are compiled in the Arkansas Code's Uniform Power of Attorney Act.

A durable power of attorney is a type of authority given to the agent while you are incapacitated. In Arkansas, by default, powers of attorney are durable unless the document specifically states that it terminates when the principal becomes incapacitated. This default rule makes sense because more people draft a POA with the intent to give the agent authority once they become incapacitated.

The Agent's Power Before Incapacity

You can opt to have your POA effective immediately so that your agent can act on your behalf while you still have capacity. You can also choose for your power of attorney to have a delayed effectiveness so that the agent only has power when you become incapacitated. This second option is called a springing power of attorney because it is dormant while you have both mental and physical capacity but springs into effect once you become incapacitated.

Sometimes agents under a durable power of attorney are unable to serve when the principal becomes incapacitated. This happens for a number of reasons such as the agent's death or incapacity or the agent's unavailability. For example, if an agent lives outside of the United States at the time, it is not going to be practical for them to act on the principal's behalf in Arkansas. You can prevent your agent's incapacity or unavailability from leaving you with no one to manage your affairs when you are incapacitated by listing at least one successor agent in your durable power of attorney. This person is simply an alternative agent who steps in if your first choice cannot or will not serve. The successor agent has no power until that happens.

Drafting a durable POA will better protect you if you become incapacitated. In Arkansas, you can write your own durable power of attorney so long as you are mentally competent. Before you draft it, you should speak with the person you want to choose as your designated agent. Ensure that you both are in agreement as to the terms of the POA. Additionally, consider asking another party to act as the successor agent in the event your primary agent is unable to complete their duties.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.