Laws of Tennessee Power of Attorney

By David Carnes

A power of attorney allows an agent to make medical or financial decisions on behalf of a principal, subject to the terms of a written power of attorney authorization form. Power of attorney is governed by state law, and the laws of each state are slightly different. In Tennessee, power of attorney is governed by Section 34 of the Tennessee Code.

Formal Requirements

In Tennessee, a power of attorney must specifically authorize the types of decisions the principal is authorizing the agent to make, and must be signed and dated by the principal. The principal's signature must be notarized in the presence of at least two witnesses. The principal must be mentally competent at the time he signs the document.

Agent's Rights and Duties

Any act performed by an agent on behalf of the principal, such as signing a contract, is binding on the principal just as if the principal had performed the act himself. In some cases, the binding effect of such an act can endure beyond the principal's death -- the assumption of a debt, for example, may mean that a creditor can make a claim against a deceased principal's estate. The agent must act in good faith, with reasonable care and in the best interests of the principal. He may not act for his own gain, but he may accept a reasonable fee for his services.

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Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney comes into effect and remains in effect when the principal is incapacitated. "Incapacity" means mental incompetence, unconsciousness or inability to communicate. Depending on its terms, a durable power of attorney may empower the agent to make life-or-death decisions on behalf of the principal, including the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration in cases of terminal illness as long as certain statutory language s used. If the power of attorney empowers the agent to make medical decisions, the physician who honors it is insulated from civil, criminal and professional liability as long as he acts in good faith. A medical power of attorney may empower the agent to make decisions about the disposition of the principal's remains after he dies.


A principal is free to revoke a power of attorney at any time unless he is incompetent. He may revoke it by notifying the agent orally or in writing, and the revocation becomes effective immediately. He may revoke the power to make medical decisions by notifying the attending physician orally or in writing, even without notifying the agent. If the principal is the agent's wife, divorce automatically revokes a power of attorney. The principal may also revoke a power of attorney by creating a new power of attorney, even if the new power of attorney does not specifically revoke the previous one.

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Durable Power of Attorney for Kentucky


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Power of Attorney Rights

The power of attorney doesn't so much grant rights as powers. Under a power of attorney arrangement, one person -- known as the principal -- grants an agent the power to perform legal acts on his behalf. This grant of authority may be broad or narrow, and it may be of temporary or indefinite duration. A power of attorney must be in writing and signed by the principal to be valid.

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.

Does a Power of Attorney Require Notarization?

Notarizing a legal document, such as a power of attorney, involves using the services of a notary public to authenticate the identity of the person signing the document and to witness the document being signed. The purpose of notarizing a legal document is to deter fraud and assure others the signature on the document is genuine. Each state has its own laws regarding a power of attorney; whether a power of attorney must be notarized depends on the state where the power of attorney is signed and the purpose of the power of attorney.

Power of Attorney

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