How to Create a Temporary Power of Attorney

By River Braun, J.D.

How to Create a Temporary Power of Attorney

By River Braun, J.D.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a person of your choosing the authority to act on your behalf in financial matters. While it is always a good idea to have one or more powers of attorney in place at any given time, you may, at some point, need to create a temporary version of this document, such as when your current agent is out of commission or you need to appoint a particular person to act on your behalf for a limited time.

Two young women looking down at documents in clipboard

In cases where you need to draft a temporary power of attorney, you can find fill-in-the-blank style forms at your local bank, hospital (including healthcare powers of attorney), and online from a government agency or legal document provider. While it is possible to create your own copy of this document, fill-in-the-blank forms can effectively guide you through the process and keep you from missing important information and exposing yourself to legal issues. You can complete these forms in just a few simple steps.

1. Download the form.

In just a few minutes, you can locate appropriate power of attorney forms from reputable sources. Oftentimes, state government websites provide forms, and some states may require that you use their forms.

2. Appoint an agent.

Your agent is the person you authorize to act on your behalf. It is important to discuss your situation with your chosen agent, explain what you need them to do if they do not already know, and obtain their consent to be your agent. Choose carefully, because this person will have the power to legally bind you to act. Once you obtain consent from your chosen agent, include their name and contact information on the temporary power of attorney form.

3. Draft a statement of authority.

This statement can be as simple as a paragraph but must detail the specific powers you are granting to your agent. Take time to consider the statement. Ask yourself whether the powers you are granting are too broad or too narrow. For example, you might grant your agent the power to manage your financial affairs. Your agent may then have the authority to sell stock that you never intended to sell. On the flip side, you want to be sure you haven't limited your agent's authority too much, or they may not have the authority to perform the actions you created the temporary power of attorney to accomplish.

4. Set time limits.

Because this is a temporary power of attorney, you need to specify the start and end dates for your agent's authority. In many states, the agent's power becomes effective as soon as you sign the document. If this is not your wish, be sure to specify the start date. The ending date does not have to be a specific date, so you may instead specify that your agent's powers expire upon the occurrence of some event, such as mental incapacity or the completion of a specified transaction.

5. Sign and date the form.

Depending on the laws of your state, you may need to sign the temporary power of attorney in the presence of two witnesses and possibly have them sign as well. In other cases, you may only have to sign the document in front of a notary. Your state may also require your agent to sign the document. These requirements are usually specified in the document, so be sure to read it thoroughly so you do not have issues moving forward.

Creating a temporary power of attorney does not have to be complex or expensive. Using one of the fill-in-the-blank forms is a simple enough process. Just be sure to research your specific state's laws so that the temporary power of attorney form is legal and valid.

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.