How to Get Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

How to Get Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

If you have an aging loved one who lives in the state of Pennsylvania, a power of attorney (POA) will let you act on their behalf should they become incapacitated. This legal document will allow you to complete transactions on your loved one's behalf, like selling property or making estate planning decisions. Governed by state law, the POA must be put into writing in order to be considered valid in Pennsylvania.

Young woman standing over the shoulder of an elderly woman helping her sign documents

How to Draft a Pennsylvania Power of Attorney Document

Pennsylvania law permits powers of attorney for both financial and healthcare matters, and those arrangements must comply with various legal requirements to be valid and enforceable. This article discusses the Pennsylvania requirements for a financial version of this document.

1. Mandatory Notice to the Principal

Pennsylvania law requires the following notice, located in 20 Pa.C.S. Ch. 56., to appear in capital letters at the top of the document, and the principal must sign an acknowledgment just below the notice.

 

2. Basic Information

A power of attorney must include the basic information about the arrangement, including:

  • The principal's and agent's legal names and addresses
  • The relationship of the principal to the agent—for example, husband and wife, parent and child, or financial advisor and client
  • The scope of the principal's authority or the types of decisions/transactions the agent can make for the principal
  • The intended duration of the POA

The parties can condition the duration on a future event. For example, they can agree that the document is legally effective only if the principal is mentally incapacitated.

3. Mandatory Acknowledgement by the Agent

A Pennsylvania power of attorney must contain the following acknowledgment signed by the Agent. This document solidifies that the agent understands the document and how to correctly act as an agent.

4. Signing Requirements

Pennsylvania law requires that this document be signed and witnessed in a specific way. The document must be dated, and the principal must sign it if physically able. If not, the principal can direct someone else to sign on their behalf.

Further, the signature of the principal or the principal's designated signer must be notarized by someone other than the agent and witnessed by two additional people 18 years or older who are not the designated signer, the agent, or the notary public.

Valid Power of Attorney Documents

When a power of attorney is filed in Pennsylvania Orphan's Court or with a county's Recorder of Deeds, an original version of the POA must be used. In all other situations, a copy of the document is just as valid as an original.

If the agent or someone working for or with the agent is subjecting the principal to physical or financial abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment, this document is not valid and enforceable and third parties such as banks are not required to honor it.

Powers of Attorney from Other States

A power of attorney signed in another state or drafted under another state's law is valid in Pennsylvania so long as the signing of the document complied with the law of the state recited in the POA as its governing law or complied with the law of the state where it was signed.

If you're concerned about a loved one's ability to make their own decisions regarding finances, real estate, medical needs, and beyond, it might be a good idea to draft a POA. An attorney can help you draft one that is both valid and enforceable in Pennsylvania.

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.