A power of attorney is a document in which you, the principal, appoint a third party, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions on your behalf. This document is also called a financial power of attorney. In North Dakota, a POA may be durable or nondurable. A nondurable POA automatically terminates when the principal becomes unable to make his own decisions or when he becomes otherwise incapacitated. In contrast, a durable POA survives the principal's incapacity, meaning that the agent may still act on the principal's behalf, despite the principal’s inability to make decisions for himself. In North Dakota, a POA is nondurable, unless the document contains specific language that authorizes the POA to remain in effect during the principal's subsequent incapacity.
Because of the important powers you grant in a financial power of attorney, it is important to choose someone you trust. For this reason, you may wish to elect a trusted family member or friend. When determining the powers you wish to grant in your POA, you can be as general or as specific as you like. For example, if you wish to give your agent broad authority to have the power to do everything financially that you yourself can do, simply state that your agent has the power to engage in all financial transactions on your behalf. You can also limit your agent's power by including restrictive language in the POA, such as limiting the agent’s powers to accessing a specific bank account to pay bills or to sign a particular contract.
For a financial power of attorney to be effective in North Dakota, the POA must be in writing and signed. North Dakota requires that anyone creating a POA must be at least 18 years of age and competent, meaning that you are of sound mind and able to make decisions for yourself. Once the terms of the POA are set, the principal must sign the document. It is also common for businesses, such as banks and hospitals, to require that either a notary public or two witnesses sign the document to consider your POA a valid legal document.
In general, a principal may revoke his financial power of attorney at any time. However, the principal must make the revocation in writing and he must deliver the revocation to the agent. The principal may also provide copies of the revocation to any businesses or persons who received the original POA. This decreases the likelihood that a third party may mistakenly recognize your agent's authority after it has been revoked. In North Dakota, as in all states, POAs also terminate automatically upon the principal's death or incapacity if the POA was not a durable POA.