Georgia Financial Power of Attorney

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Do you need help drafting a Georgia financial power of attorney document? Contact The Law Office of Paul Black for help. Book a free consultation call with us.

Author: Paul Black

Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as  a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: September 14, 2023.

What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?

What Is a Financial Power of Attorney sect

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

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The financial power of attorney (FPOA) is a document that gives someone else authority over your finances. The financial power of attorney gives your agent the authority to purchase and sell real estate on your behalf, pay bills, and manage your assets.

The principal is the person who executes the power of attorney. The agent or attorney-in-fact is the person who represents the principal.

However, neither the principal nor the agent must be an attorney, despite the words “power of attorney” and “attorney-in-fact.”

Several circumstances could necessitate the use of a financial power of attorney, including:

  • If a catastrophe occurs and you find yourself unable to manage your funds 

  • If you are having surgery and anticipate being unable to act or make financial decisions for a while

  • If you are concerned that you won’t be able to manage your funds on your own because of your deteriorating health

Considering a power of attorney in Georgia? If so, consult with a top estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Paul Black. We provide a full range of estate planning services and can advise you on the most suitable power of attorney. 

Competence and Communication in Granting Power of Attorney

Competence and Communication in Granting Power of Attorney

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

If you have questions, I’m here to help. There is no commitment and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.

When granting a power of attorney (POA), the principal’s competence is paramount. Competence ensures that the individual fully understands the implications and extent of the authority they are conferring. Legally, a principal must be of sound mind to execute a POA. This means they must comprehend the nature of the document, the powers being granted, and the potential consequences of their decision.

Communication is another critical factor. The principal must clearly convey their intentions and the scope of powers they wish to grant to the agent. Effective communication helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that the agent acts in accordance with the principal’s wishes. According to a study by the American Bar Association, clear directives and open dialogue significantly reduce the risk of disputes or misuse of power.

In summary, ensuring the principal’s competence and facilitating clear communication are essential steps in the process of granting a power of attorney. These measures protect the principal’s interests and ensure that their affairs are managed according to their preferences.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are a few types of POA. These include the following:

  • A durable power of attorney is a POA that remains in force even after the principal is rendered mentally incapacitated.
  • A springing power of attorney is a POA that only functions if the principal is rendered incapable
  • A healthcare power of attorney is a POA that gives your agent the authority to decide on your medical care. This happens mostly when you cannot do so or are unable to communicate.

What Is the Difference Between a Financial Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney?

General Power Of Attorney

A general power of attorney (GPOA) allows your agent to represent you in any situation permitted by local law. This covers corporate, legal, financial, and health-related issues and can confer broad powers. Depending on your selections, GPOAs may be durable or not.

Although a GPOA gives your agent significant control over your affairs, there are still several things they cannot perform. For instance, they are not permitted to change your final will and testament or enter into a marriage on your behalf.

A GPOA can only be used when the principal is rational and can decide for themselves. A GPOA terminates when the principal cannot manage their affairs or passes away.

A durable power of attorney should be completed if the principal wants the agent to continue should the principal become disabled.

 

Financial Power Of Attorney

An FPOA is a unique or limited power of attorney. It delegates authority to your agent to take action on your behalf concerning specific topics of your choosing.

In this instance, your agent can manage your financial matters, property or business affairs. You could, for instance, give your agent the power to:

  • Pay bills
  • Make bank withdrawals and deposits
  • Manage property
  • Manage and collect your pension benefits
  • Rent or even sell real estate
  • Submit your taxes

Which abilities you want your agent to have is up to you. You might, for instance, want your agent to handle your property or make your payments. Additionally, FPOAs may or may not be durable, depending on your wishes.

Requirements for a Valid Georgia Financial Power of Attorney

The Georgia Power of Attorney Act outlines the requirements and procedures for setting up a power of attorney. It also details the responsibilities of a power of attorney and the legal consequences of the document. Finally, the Act outlines the procedure for revoking or terminating a power of attorney.

Under the Act, agents may act on behalf of their principals and exercise broad authority as granted by their agreements.

The Act requires that one witness and a notary public sign with the principal. Agents must also be able to provide evidence that the principal has given them authority to act on their behalf. Both the notary public and witness must be separate individuals, and neither can be named as an agent.

The Act also requires that agents keep records of all transactions they make on behalf of their principals.

Is a Power of Attorney Valid Across State Lines?

A power of attorney that is in effect when you sign it will typically continue to be so, even if your state of residency changes. Even moving to a new state alone shouldn’t need the signing of a new power of attorney. It is a good idea to take the chance to update your power of attorney.

The update should ideally be included in a review and update of your overall estate plan.

 

Can I Revoke a Financial Power of Attorney at Any Time?

 

You still have the legal authority to handle your funds even if a financial power of attorney is in place. Your agent is obliged to carry out your requests.

A financial power of attorney can be started and ended at any moment.

Can I Create an FPOA Without Legal Assistance?

It is possible to draft your own POA. However, a knowledgeable and skilled attorney can ensure that your POA doesn’t provide more authority than you intend.

It is critical to realize that your financial power of attorney contains essential clauses. These clauses give authority to another to perform specific legally binding actions on your behalf. 

 

Georgia Financial POA Form

 

You can find a financial power of attorney form online. Some sites also provide excellent guidance on how to fill out these forms.

Consider having a capable and experienced estate lawyer review your form before signing it. This will reduce the risk of signing a document that does not accomplish what you intended. 

How Often Should I Review and Update My FPOA?

You should update your durable power of attorney at least once every ten years, if not more frequently. There are various reasons for this:

  • Banks and other financial organizations may reject an older document as laws change over time
  • The persons you name could change, especially if you name a couple together
  • As the law evolves, you might wish for additional authority to safeguard your possessions.

 

Does a POA Have to Be Filed With the Court in Georgia?

 

POAs do not need to be filed in court. POAs should be notarized, witnessed by two adults, and kept in a secure location by the principal unless there is an urgent need to exercise them. However, it does not need to be included in public records.

How The Law Office Of Paul Black Can Assist

Often, a POA is written as part of a broader estate planning process. It has far-reaching implications. Regardless of whether you need an FPOA as part of your estate planning, it is always beneficial to seek competent legal advice before signing. We can review your draft FPOA in advance and assist you in making informed decisions. 

The Law Office of Paul Black provides a full suite of estate planning services. We are here to help to help you create an estate plan that best suits your family. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced estate lawyers who can help you to identify and then achieve your estate planning goals. Contact us today to ensure your future is provided for. 

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