If you become incapacitated due to an accident or progressive disease, do you have a plan to manage your affairs? Designating an agent with a power of attorney (POA) grants one person the power and responsibility to manage your finances, assets, accounts, and other important non-medical decisions.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
Granting a power of attorney (POA) allows your designated agent to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Incapacitation can include:
- An unconscious state brought about by accident, injury, or degenerative disease
- Mental incapacitation due to a progressive disease such as dementia or Alzheimer's
- Similar conditions that make you unable to make your own decisions or communicate your wishes
In addition, if you desire, the power of attorney can be made effective upon your signature, allowing your agent to act on your behalf out of convenience, even if you are not incapacitated.
Georgia updated its official code to add the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in 2017. The UPOAA revised and introduced language to protect you from bad actors abusing their power as agents and to force third parties to recognize the authority of a POA and honor the powers you granted to the agent. POAs created on or after July 1, 2017, have protection under the UPOAA if they comply with the law and are on the statutory form or one that is substantially similar. POAs on non-compliant forms, and those dated before July 1, 2017, do not receive the same treatment and may not be enforceable if a third party declines to voluntarily honor the POA.
Types of Power of Attorney
Granting power of attorney gives you some options as to how your agent can exercise their power and when they have the authority to act on your behalf. The types of POA available in Georgia include:
- Limited: A limited power of attorney allows your agent to execute specific decisions that you name in your POA document.
- General: A general POA allows your agent to handle your finances and assets on your behalf, having nearly the same power over your money, accounts, and charitable donations as you.
- Durable: A durable POA allows your agent to act on your behalf when you become incapacitated. Agents without durable powers may not manage your affairs if you fall into a coma or become legally incapacitated.
A general durable power of attorney is usually a good starting point to give your agent the most freedom to represent your interests.
How to Create a Power of Attorney in Georgia
You must create your POA while you are mentally competent. To be effective, a POA must:
- Be signed by you (the principal)
- Be signed by a witness
- Be signed by a notary public
- Be signed by all three together at the same time
For the POA to be enforceable under the UPOAA, as discussed above, it must be compliant with the act and dated on or after July 1, 2017.
Call Peach State Wills & Trusts to Create a Power of Attorney in Georgia
For over 16 years, our legal team at Peach State Wills & Trusts has helped clients create power of attorney documents to plan for incapacity. If you need help choosing an agent, determining the extent of their powers, and notifying third-party institutions, contact us today. Call now at 678-824-8278 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a lawyer for powers of attorney planning.
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