Power of Attorney Letter Format

By Tom Streissguth

A power of attorney, sometimes also known as a letter of attorney, is a document that allows someone else to act on your behalf and hold either general or specific authority to make financial, legal and health care decisions. The laws of the individual states govern the creation and use of powers of attorney. The format of the document itself may vary, with a letter form serving as one common and relatively simple alternative. A power of attorney letter may be addressed to a specific group or individual, to the agent or as a general declaration.

Heading

A power of attorney letter resembles a conventional business letter, with additional lines at the end of the letter for witness signatures and a notary seal. The letter heading should carry your name, address and any other contact information you wish to provide. The heading should also carry a date, either above or below your name. Before the body of the letter, you can place either a specific addressee or simply write "To Whom it May Concern" for a letter serving as a general declaration.

Body

The body of the power of attorney letter must include the name and address of your agent, as well as language to the effect that you are granting authority to this individual to act on your behalf. In addition, the power of attorney should describe the nature of this authority: either general, under which the agent has broad scope to take decisions in any and all matters, or specific, in which you grant only the authority to act in certain areas (for example, the purchase of a property or the signing of a contract).

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Contingent and Durable Powers of Attorney

The effective date of the power of attorney should be specified, if different from the date given in the heading. In addition, you may create a contingent (or "springing") power of attorney that takes effect only under certain conditions -- such as your mental or physical incapacity. A "durable" power of attorney remains in effect if you become incapacitated after the effective date of the document. By the law, powers of attorney that are not durable lapse if you do become incapacitated, and all powers of attorney lapse in the event of your death.

Signature

You must sign the power of attorney in order for it to be a valid document. You should also have the letter witnessed by two individuals, who can be relatives, friends or legal representatives. Many states hold that agents may not act in real-estate actions unless their power of attorney is notarized; for this reason, you may also want to have your signature witnessed by a notary public, who will also stamp and date the "notary block." Some states require the notary signature so check your state's requirements.

Revocation

A revocation may be added to the end of the power of attorney letter. This is a short statement that revokes the power of attorney and has lines for your signature, the date and the signature of two witnesses. You do not have to provide good cause for a revocation; you have the authority to revoke a general or specific power of attorney at any time, unless you have granted a durable power of attorney and have been adjudged incapacitated by a court of law.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
Can a Power of Attorney Be Non-Durable & Non-Revocable at the Same Time?

References

Related articles

How to Obtain Power of Attorney in New Jersey

New Jersey law provides for a power of attorney. This document allows an agent to act on behalf of the individual signing the power of attorney, also known as the grantor or principal. Whereas a standard power of attorney lapses if the principal becomes incapacitated, a durable power of attorney remains in effect. As the prospective agent, you may obtain a power of attorney by having a principal sign, date and notarize a simple form.

How to Write a Special Power of Attorney Letter

Writing a special power of attorney letter allows you to legally assign your authority to make personal and financial decisions to another person or organization, commonly referred to as your agent. In contrast to a general power of attorney that is broad in its assignment of power, a special power of attorney limits your agent’s authority to the specific transactions you include in the document.

What Is an Agent Under a Power of Attorney for Health Care in California?

A power of attorney for health care is a legal relationship where one person, known as the agent, makes medical decisions for another person, known as the principal. In California, the document must meet certain formal requirements to be considered valid. Once executed, the powers delegated to the agent can be as broad or as limited as the principal desires, including the power to make anatomical gifts and end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney may generally be revoked by the principal at any time.

Related articles

Definitions of Durable and Non-Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney, or POA, grants an individual (“agent”) the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of another ...

North Carolina State Statutes Regulating Power of Attorney for Health Care

A power of attorney for health care can give you piece of mind that appropriate medical and mental health decisions ...

What Is a Revocable Power of Attorney Form?

A revocable power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that appoints an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to handle ...

How to Obtain Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania

A power of attorney is a document in which one person, known as the principal, authorizes another person, known as the ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED