How to Write a Special Power of Attorney Letter

By Jeff Franco J.D./M.A./M.B.A.

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.

Step 1

Draft a list of each special power you want to assign. Since a special power is very precise, you must separately state the transactions, accounts and property over which your agent has authority. For example, a special power can allow your agent to handle the sale of a specific piece of real estate, whereas allowing an agent to handle all of your financial transactions is a general power.

Step 2

Make a notation next to each power you want to be “springing.” A springing power is contingent, meaning your agent cannot act on your behalf until an event or other condition you specify occurs. There is no requirement that your special power of attorney letter needs to include a springing clause, but if it doesn’t, your power of attorney is legally enforceable immediately after you sign it.

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Step 3

Note the power of attorney’s expiration date on your list. Unless you indicate a specific date on which the special power of attorney expires, your agent may continue acting on your behalf. However, regardless of whether you include an expiration date or not, you always retain the power to revoke or terminate the power of attorney at any time.

Step 4

Write the name of a successor agent. Including an agent to succeed the original agent you assign authority to is beneficial in the event the original agent dies or is otherwise unable to competently handle your affairs.

Step 5

Draft the final special power of attorney document using your list. Your list contains the essential components that your power of attorney document must include. Draft the document using clear and unambiguous language to outline the details of each special power; include your full name, the full names of your agents and the date you create the document.

Step 6

Sign the power of attorney. For the special power of attorney to be legally enforceable, all states require, at a minimum, that you sign it in the presence of a notary. Once the document features the appropriate signatures, the power of attorney is complete.

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How to Assign Power of Attorney

References

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The Louisiana Statute on Durable Power of Attorney

You’re probably used to taking care of your own finances, but someday you might need help handling financial matters. Diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia can interfere with your mental capacity, causing you to rely on someone else to take care of your bank accounts, investments and bills. Or travel may take you out of town during times when you need someone else to transact your business locally. For these types of situations, Louisiana law allows you to give authority over your finances to another person through a power of attorney.

How to Obtain Power of Attorney

You may face circumstances that require you to perform legal acts, such as withdrawing money from a bank account or consenting to medical treatment, on behalf of another person, known as the principal, who cannot perform these acts himself due to disability or other adverse circumstance. A valid power of attorney will allow you to perform these acts as agent for the principal without legal liability. Hospitals and banks often offer standardized power of attorney forms that have been drafted in accordance with state law. Otherwise, you may draft the appropriate form yourself.

Power of Attorney Vs. Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) legally assigns authority to an agent to act on your behalf in matters that you specify within the document. There are different types of Powers of Attorney that provide agents with varying scopes of authority. However, you can draft any type of power of attorney to be durable. A durable power of attorney automatically extends the duration of the POA in the event you are mentally incompetent at the time it will expire.

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