Have you found yourself in a potentially tough spot and wish to give someone the power of attorney?
But what is a power of attorney?
The power of attorney in Georgia allows a family member or friend to act legally on your behalf.
This includes financial, medical, and personal decisions.
This article deep dives everything you need to know about the power of attorney process in Georgia.
Georgia Power of Attorney Table of Contents:
- What You Should Know About Power of Attorney
- Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
- General Power of Attorney Georgia
- Special Power of Attorney Georgia
- Health Care Power of Attorney Georgia
- Durable Power of Attorney Georgia
- Finding the Best Power of Attorney Agent in Georgia
- Being of Sound Mind
- Signing, Sealing and Delivering a Power of Attorney
- How Power of Attorney Works in Georgia
- Choosing a Power of Attorney in Georiga
What You Should Know About Power of Attorney
Some power of attorneys provides the individual with complete control over your affairs. Some are more specific and only provide individuals power over specific situations in your life.
So how do you even create a power of attorney in Georgia?
Creating a power of attorney requires you to sign a Power of Attorney form in Georgia, which grants authority to another individual. To make this a valid document, you must have two witnesses sign it or a notary in Georgia.
But what if you want to cancel the power of attorney in Georgia?
When canceling a power of attorney, you want to cover all of your basis. You want to shred the original document. Notify the individual via email or a certified letter. These two methods provide a time stamp on the notification. A certified letter is more fool-proof as the person has to sign to receive the letter and you get a receipt. Finally, have an addendum written up, which states that you are revoking the power of attorney from the individual, and sign it.
Are you wondering if you even need a power of attorney?
Let’s dig into some examples of when someone would need one.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
To make this simple, the following are some examples of when you might need a power of attorney.
Beth lives alone with no close family and she is scheduled for surgery in a few weeks.
John runs his own business, is single, and has no medical or economic concerns.
Matt has been diagnosed with cancer and is given 2 months to live.
Sam and Melissa will be out of the country but they are trying to sell their house to fund their life while they are out of the country.
Do ALL of these individuals call for a power of attorney?
Yes, they do.
A power of attorney in Georgia is an agreement that allows an individual to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself.
But not all of the power of attorneys are created equal. With each type of POA, the individual is given a different level of control over your affairs.
To make sure that you set up your power of attorney correctly, find a local estate planning attorney in Atlanta Georgia.
General Power of Attorney Georiga
What’s the difference in General Power of Attorney and the other niche POAs?
A general power of attorney provides the attorney-in-fact the ability to act on your behalf.
But what are these so-called powers? What decisions can a general POA make?
The powers include making decisions based on:
- financial transactions (think paying bills)
- business transactions (think paying employees and investments)
- buying life insurance
- settling claims against the person
- operating business interests (think managing a company)
- making gifts (think of donating monies to others)
- employing professional help (think doctors and specialists)
When would a general power of attorney in Georgia be useful to you though?
- If you’re out of the country for 1-6 months and you need someone to manage your life back in the states, you can have a power of attorney make decisions for you back home. This doesn’t mean that you give up power. This means that if any legalese needs to occur, then this person can sign documents on your behalf so that business chugs along per usual.
- You are physically or mentally incapable of managing your affairs. If you are going under major surgery, you might want to get a power of attorney. In the instance where the surgery goes sideways and you’re stuck in the hospital for 2-12 weeks, you will want someone who can manage your affairs. Things they will do might include writing and signing your checks to pay your bills. It could mean canceling subscriptions that you no longer use. It can also mean that they can go negotiate insurance and medical bills on your behalf.
What is an attorney-in-fact?
An attorney-in-fact is someone authorized to manage a business on someone else’s behalf. If you are unable to make business decisions for your company for a period of time, you will want to sign a power of attorney document to assign an attorney-in-fact.
Can the power of attorney change a will?
A power of attorney cannot change a will. After a will is written and the person has passed away, the will holds the most authority for the estate and appoints an executor during probate. A power of attorney’s authority does not override an executor.
Does the power of attorney expire?
Unless the power of attorney documents have a noted expiration date, the power of attorney does not expire and is irreversible unless the person regains the capacity to make decisions. At this point, the person can revoke the power of attorney themselves. The power of attorney only expires at the death of the principal.
Does the power of attorney end at death?
Powers of attorney do not survive death. After death, the executor of the estate handles all financial and legal matters, according to the provisions of the will. An individual can designate a power of attorney to his attorney, family member or friend and also name that same person as the executor of the estate.
Does the power of attorney override spouse?
With the power of attorney, you appoint a trusted individual to act for you. Your spouse does not have the right to terminate or change your power of attorney. The power of attorney overrides a spouse if set up correctly.
Can the power of attorney keep family away?
The power of attorney cannot keep family away physically. However, they have the right to set up legal limitations. For instance, they can keep the family from messing with the principal’s affairs while the principal does not have the capacity to do so themselves.
Special Power of Attorney Georgia
When you want your power of attorney to have authority over only specific aspects of your life, then you can create a special power of attorney.
For instance, you may be going into major surgery and you already have a will that outlines your estate. You own a business that needs to continue operations while you’re undergoing surgery, but no one in your family has that skillset. You may give a business friend power of attorney over your company while you are in the hospital.
This kind of special power of attorney can be applied to any aspect of your life affairs including; selling property, managing real estate, collecting debts, and handling business transactions
Does a special power of attorney need to be notarized?
A special power of attorney needs to be notarized. A special power of attorney is a legal document allowing another person to make decisions on your behalf. In order for this document to be valid, it must be notarized and signed.
What is a special power of attorney?
A special power of attorney in Georgia is a legal document allowing another person to make specific decisions on your behalf. Under certain circumstances, this person makes the decisions that you have clearly laid out in your special power of attorney documents.
Health Care Power of Attorney Georgia
Are you considering creating a health care power of attorney in Georgia?
But you’re wondering what exactly it entails?
A health care power of attorney is used if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or unable to make decisions on your own.
But how would you plan ahead for any of these scenarios?
For example, you’d want to have a power of attorney if you are going into surgery. The surgery could have complications and you could go into a coma. At this point, you are unable to make decisions and need someone reliable to guide the doctors.
Another scenario would be while you are on life support. Maybe you don’t want to be kept on life support for 5 months but your family chooses to keep you on it. If you truly want to be taken off life support, you’ll need to make someone with the capacity to make that decision your health care power of attorney. They will be able to overrule the family decisions.
So that the decisions of the health care power of attorney aren’t influenced by emotions or family, you could consider having someone who you don’t know be the power of attorney, such as an estate planning attorney.
This also keeps your family from being mad at a single person in the family. Imagine giving your son health care power of attorney and he pulls the plug on your life support against the will of his mother and siblings. They may not ever be able to forgive him.
Durable Power of Attorney Georgia
When do you need a durable power of attorney in Georgia?
You need one in case something happens to you so that the general, special, or health power of attorney remains in effect.
Imagine that you have a power of attorney for someone to run your business while you go on a month-long retreat. During this month-long period, you get into a wreck that’s so bad that you go into a coma for 4 months.
Your power of attorney was written up to only be for the month that you were traveling. You want your power of attorney to remain in effect while you are incapable of making any decisions. Signing a durable power of attorney in Georgia correctly allows the appointed attorney-in-fact to continue managing your affairs while you’re not of sound mind.
What happens to a durable power of attorney after death?
A durable power of attorney after death becomes voided. The power of attorneys are only valid while the principal is alive. After death, the executor of the estate takes control of the decedent’s affairs.
Finding the Best Power of Attorney Agent in Georgia
You need to be able to trust that the person you are choosing to give the power of attorney to.
No matter who it is, you want someone who will act in your best interests, fulfill your wishes, and not abuse the power of your affairs that they have been provided.
Second to trust, you need someone who has great organizational skills.
Your power of attorney agent should be able to keep accurate records of the transactions made on your behalf. These records will be used to keep you informed.
If the transactions affect your taxes, then consider hiring a bookkeeper to manage the transaction recording for you.
For instance, if you appoint an agent who is unreliable to pay your property taxes on your home and they fail to do so, you could have a Georgia property tax lien on your property when you come back. At the same time, you don’t want someone who is going to sell all of your stuff, making you come back to an empty and abandoned house in Atlanta.
But what if the power of attorney agent makes bad decisions?
The agent can be legally responsible for their decisions made on your behalf. The power of attorney in Georgia allows you to layout what decisions the agent can make and how to make them. This can safeguard you against unintentional misconduct.
But if they intentionally made bad decisions?
The agent is legally held responsible for intentional misconduct. If you suspect there is misconduct, you should contact your attorney and report them.
Who is the agent in a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document giving someone else the authority to make decisions for you on your behalf. This person is the agent in the power of attorney. How much authority they have and the types of decisions the agent can make are laid out in the power of attorney documents.
Being of Sound Mind in Georgia
Being of sound mind is important when creating your power of attorney in Georiga. For the documents to be valid, you must be of sound mind when signing the documents.
This is so that someone doesn’t take advantage of you while you’re incompetent, giving them the full authority of your life without you being fully aware.
In some cases, you have to be mentally incompetent for the power of attorney to take effect. Your power of attorney agent will need to have a doctor’s note stating that you are mentally incompetent for them to do business on your behalf. Sometimes the courts will even get involved and make the competency decision themselves.
Signing, Sealing and Delivering a Power of Attorney
Signing a power of attorney can be pretty tedious. You need to sign and notarize numerous copies.
Your bank, mortgage company, and many other companies won’t allow someone to act on your behalf without an official copy of the power of attorney.
You don’t need an attorney to create a power of attorney. You can get Georgia Power of Attorney forms and fill them out yourself.
But, not having an attorney review the documents places you at risk. Working with an attorney allows you to be aware of the powers being granted and whether or not your document meets the legal requirements.
Do I need a power of attorney?
Needing a power of attorney is certain in life. At some point, we all become incapable of making decisions. This could be health issues, old age, family emergencies, vacations, car wrecks, etc. It’s important to have a power of attorney established just in case things go wrong in life.
How Power of Attorney Works in Georgia
If you are doing your power of attorney yourself in Georgia, then you can just go online and download a Georgie power of attorney form for free.
You can easily fill out this form on your own. We always recommend that you at least have an estate planning attorney in Georgia verify it just to make sure it’s filled out properly.
Georgia does require that your power of attorney be notarized.
It does have specific requirements though.
In Georgia, the principal must sign and date the power of attorney form in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the form. It does not need to be notarized.
Related: Estate Planning Checklist
Put It in Writing
You may verbally give power of attorney to someone you trust, but that won’t hold up with the courts or the banks. You’ll have to have documentation that lays out the agent’s rights to your livelihood.
If you want your agent to sell your house, you will want to have everything in write. From which Atlanta Realtors to use, how much to sell the house for, what repairs to make, which contractors to use, what to do with the money, etc. To make things run smoothly, sit down with the realtor that you want to use and think through everything that needs a decision.
On the other hand, if you house needs some love, but you don’t have the money to invest into a renovation, you’ll need to write which as-is home buyer Atlanta you’d like your agent to use. Every Atlanta buys homes company is different. You want to make sure that you are working with a credible and trustworthy company so you don’t get scammed.
Use the Proper Format
What’s the length of your power of attorney? Do you want this person to have authority until you pass away or do you want them to only have temporary authority to make decisions? Your power of attorney should have the expiration date for the authority to be terminated.
What kind of decisions do you want them to make on your behalf? Do you want them to make decisions as they see fit? Do you want to implement decisions that you make yourself on your behalf? What decisions should they be making? Your power of attorney should lay out a plan of action.
Identify the Parties
The person granting power of attorney is the principal. The person receiving authority is the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Bob is 85 years old and wants be taken on a race track for a few laps in a Ferrari. He’s always wanted to do this and has scheduled the appointment. In preparations, he decides to create a power of attorney in case things go wrong out on the tracks. Bob assigns authority to his daughter, Jane, so that she can make medical decisions on his behalf. They sign a medical power of attorney. In this scenario, Bob is the principal and Jane is the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Choosing a Power of Attorney in Georiga
A power of attorney grants immense authority to an individual.
Chosing a bad agent to represent you can be the difference between life and death during a medical scenario or financial ruin.
What happens if the person you grant power of attorney to makes the wrong medical call during a major operation? What if they request something that you wouldn’t agree with or choose yourself? What if they go with the option that costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars? What if they go with the doctor that is outside of your insurance network, costing you thousands?
As you can imagine, these are all very important things that you need to consider when creating your power of attorney and chosing the agent for the job.
You want someone who is in alignment with your goals and wishes. If you don’t think that you can trust anyone in your life to make the decisions as you see fit, then you need to work with an attorney to lay out every possible scenario and decision. In this case, you should consider making your attorney your attorney-in-fact.
When considering the agent to represent you, keep in mind the exent of their authority. Depending on the type of power of attorney and the exent of control that you provide them, they can sell your house to a cash investor, sell your business, deplete your bank accounts, manage your investments, open lines of credit, and much more. You can imagine how much havoc they can wreck on your life if the right person is not chosen.
Your agent can be any competent adult, such as an attorney, accountant, or banker. Your agent can also be any family member or friend. Having a non-professional (not an attorney) will save you fees associated hiring an attorney to manage your affairs.
Over to You
What’s your experience with setting up or using a power of attorney?
What kind of questions do you have?
Leave a comment below.