Powers of attorney can only be given through written documents in Georgia. Here’s how to get one.
No one likes to think about their own or their loved ones’ potential incapacity. But it is not unlikely. One day you might get struck by another motorist on I-285 and become handicapped or be one of the 5.7 million Americans with dementia, making it necessary for someone else to handle your tasks. If you are thinking in that line, you may also be wondering how to get a power of attorney in Georgia. Let’s find out how.
What is a power of attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that appoints another adult to represent or act on your behalf in business, financial, or other legal matters.
The authorising party is known as the “principal,” and the person authorised to act as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” [AIF].
What are the POA’s rights and limitations?
A general power of attorney gives your AIF broad authority. It allows AIF to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. They have a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. Other sorts of POAs to consider if you wish to grant your AIF specific authority.
Among your POA’s limitations are that it cannot change your will, make decisions that are not covered by the POA, give decision-making authority to someone else, violate their fiduciary duty, or act on your behalf after your death.
Types of POA available in Georgia
Georgia offers several types of POAs. Decide what type of POA you need. A monetary or financial POA and a medical POA are frequently included in Georgia estate planning. Under a financial POA, your AIF can handle your business and financial concerns. Health care POAs allow AIF to make medical decisions on your behalf. These two POAs are also “durable,” which means they retain their effectiveness even after you become incapacitated.
It’s a good idea for most people to create these two documents because it helps them prepare for the unexpected. Learn How to Get Power of Attorney in Georgia and also about different types of POAs at first. Take help from a professional if needed because you must have clear ideas on the power of attorney requirements.
Requirements for POA in Georgia
For your POA to be valid in Georgia, it must meet the following requirements:
Creating a POA requires mental capacity
A power of attorney is only valid if the maker is in good mental health. You should consult a lawyer if you have questions about the mental capacity requirement when making a POA.
The POA must be notarised and witnessed
In Georgia, a POA must be signed by the principal. If the principal is unable to sign, another person may sign the principal’s name at the direction of the principal and in the presence of the principal.
It also needs to be signed by witnesses and a notary public or other person authorised to administer oaths. The notary may not be a witness. A notary public and witness cannot be named as an agent in your POA.
Choosing an attorney-in-fact
Once you decide that a POA is needed, you need to ask, “Who do I trust to be my agent?” It is legal for you to appoint any competent adult as your agent. Nevertheless, you will need to consider specific practical considerations (e.g., the person’s trustworthiness, mental condition, age, etc.).
You can appoint co-agents in Georgia authorised to collaborate, but it is usually best to have just one agent to avoid conflicts. It’s a good idea to appoint a “successor” agent, as it provides a backup if your first choice is not available.
Steps for making a POA in Georgia
Could you put it in writing using proper format?
Although lawyers draft most POAs, some can be drawn up without legal assistance. You can create your power of attorney in Georgia by filling out statutory forms (prepared by the state legislature). There are software programs that guide you through a series of questions to create a POA that meets your specific needs.
A limited power of attorney dealing strictly with motor vehicles is free from the Tax Commissioner’s office. Regardless of which method you choose, the process includes granting your agent broad powers or initialising each specific power (from a list) that you wish AIF to have.
Sign and notarise the POA
In Georgia, the POA must be notarised and witnessed. A notary’s seal and signature on the document can make things easier for the agent.
Store the original POA
It would help if you kept the original POA in a safe place where your family members can easily access it and let them know where to find it. If you become incapacitated, your agent will need your original POA to act on your behalf.
Give a copy to your agent
A power of attorney should also be given to your agent so that they are familiar with the contents.
Record a copy
All powers of attorney do not have to be recorded by the county. However, in some instances, for a POA to be valid, it must be filed with a court or government office. For example, in Georgia, to give your agent the power to conduct real estate transactions, you need to record a copy of your POA in the land records office (called the clerk of the superior court) in the county where you own real estate. If your agent needs to sell, mortgage, or transfer real estate for you in the future, the clerk of the superior court will recognise their authority.
In Georgia, the new Uniform Power of Attorney Act (“UPOAA”) applies to most written, general, financial powers of attorney. With this act, third parties can be forced to accept a POA if certain conditions are met.
Consider giving a copy to financial institutions
Your durable financial POA may be provided to banks or other institutions that your agent may need to deal with in the future. If your agent ever needs to use the POA, this step may eliminate some hassles for them. However, doing this is not mandatory.
You live in Georgia and need someone you trust to handle certain matters on your behalf. If you need a power of attorney, you need to know what it requires and obtain one. This article provides a brief overview of the process and what you need to do to get a POA done.