How to Write a Free Durable Power of Attorney

By A.L. Kennedy

A durable power of attorney document gives another person the power to make your healthcare or financial decisions if you become incapacitated. The power to handle your affairs for you lasts for as long as you are unable to make decisions yourself. Writing your own free durable power of attorney may be a good choice if you are trying to handle your own end-of-life affairs at minimal costs.

Step 1

Write or type the date, your full name, and a statement that the document is your durable power of attorney and that you understand the powers the document gives another person if you are incapacitated. Put this information at the top of the page.

Step 2

Name the person to whom you wish to give power of attorney. You may also wish to include additional identifying information, such as his relationship to you or his address. Specify whether he should have durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions, financial decisions, legal decisions or all three. Specify that the power of attorney should last only as long as you are unable to make decisions for yourself, and that it should expire once you regain the capacity to make your own decisions.

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Step 3

Write down any specific instructions you wish to leave with the person to whom you are giving power of attorney. For instance, if you want the person with power of attorney to consult your spouse or a professional before making certain decisions, write an instruction explaining who the person with power of attorney should consult and when. If you are creating a durable power of attorney for healthcare, you may specify certain kinds of care you do or do not want, such as life support.

Step 4

Sign and date your durable power of attorney at the bottom of the page. In most states, a durable power of attorney must be witnessed by at least two witnesses in order to be legal. Your witnesses should be of sound mind, at least eighteen years of age, not related to you and not the person named to receive power of attorney in the document. Some states also require a durable power of attorney to be notarized in addition to being witnessed.

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What Can Happen if You Don't Have a Power of Attorney?



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How to Appoint a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows one person to act on behalf of another person in various matters, including health or finances. You may give another person, known as your agent or attorney-in-fact, power of attorney as long as you're mentally competent. You must draft a power of attorney document that meets the legal requirements in your state in order to give your agent authority.

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Although legal supply stores and websites offer power-of-attorney forms, a generic form might not suit your personal needs. A power of attorney can be almost anything you want it to be, so there’s no need to limit yourself to purchased, prewritten forms. You can write your own if you follow some basic guidelines. You might benefit from having an attorney review it after you’ve completed it, however, to make sure it adequately covers you under the law.

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