Everything You Need to Know About Power of Attorney Georgia

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Power of Attorney can be called on to grant someone else the authority to take charge of your legal, medical, or financial decisions and act on your behalf. In this guide, we’ll review the types of powers of attorney, how they can be granted, and more.

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: October 02, 2019. Last updated on: June 17, 2021.

Power of Attorney in Georgia

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No one wants to consider the possibility of needing the Power of Attorney. Unfortunately, some circumstances, for instance, when people become incapacitated, require the assistance of another. In those situations, you can designate another person to have Powers of Attorney over your affairs. This allows that person to make certain health care decisions, manage financial matters, and possibly care for your children by representing it via a power of attorney document.

Generally, there are two types of Powers of Attorney. A financial POA allows the person to manage the monetary decisions of another. The other POA handles their health care/medical decisions. Georgia code provides a general medical form for a power of attorney.

The process for filing a Power of Attorney document is relatively easy and inexpensive, and it can be a necessary component of your estate plan. In order to authorize a trusted friend or loved one to act on your behalf, you should retain a skilled estate planning lawyer with expertise in Georgia law like the Law Office of Paul Black to ask for legal advice.

 

Understanding the Georgia Power of Attorney Statute

On July 1, 2017, the Georgia POA Statute, by way of House Bill 221, created the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA). The UPOAA added a new Chapter beginning at Code Section 10-6B-1 to the Official Code of Georgia’s Title 10. The State of Georgia’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act applies to most powers of attorney. While the Uniform Power of Attorney Act doesn’t require using new forms, it does replace the former statutory form of the financial power of attorney.

The most significant changes to the code include the following:

  1. It provides a path to force third parties like financial institutions, to honor a Power of Attorney.
  2. It provides better protection against agents misusing POAs or taking advantage of people with cognitive function impairments.

The UPOAA has the potential to affect many Georgians, as it addresses several concerns. It’s recommended to discuss your plans for legal advice with a law firm experienced in Georgia elder law cases.

Power of Attorney Form GA: Find It Here

If you can no longer manage your affairs and do not have a legal Power of Attorney document, it may be time to fill out a Power of Attorney form GA, such as the one found here. Otherwise, it could be difficult for anyone else to pay your bills, taxes, or otherwise, make sure your property & money matters are managed properly.

This document grants authority to a representative to handle financial affairs and further act on behalf of the principal individual – the person who authorized power of attorney. When they are properly prepared and followed, these documents can prevent the time-consuming and costly process of petitioning for guardianship if the primary becomes incapacitated before a POA is designated.

The process for obtaining guardianship or conservatorship takes six to eight weeks, filing and legal fees, as well as probate court fees. Whether you are contemplating authorizing a power of attorney or must petition for guardianship, seeking the legal advice of lawyers familiar with estate law and the probate court is a solid first step.

 

Navigating the Georgia Powers of Attorney Form

To determine what sort of State of Georgia POA form is right for your situation, it is wise to consult a knowledgeable Georgia estate planning attorney. General powers of attorney provide broad legal authority over your affairs– finances, real estate, and more– to your representative. With the limited power of attorney forms, your principal’s authority is restricted to a few specific scenarios.

To designate a power of attorney in Georgia, two adult witnesses should sign your document. Plus, although it isn’t necessary, paying a notary public to act as one of the witnesses is often advisable.

What Does a Durable Power of Attorney Do?

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A “durable” power of attorney refers to a document found here that remains binding even if the principal becomes incapacitated. It is, in fact, durable and gives you the authority to continue making decisions if something happens to you.

Without a valid POA, you may require a costly court visit to determine a guardian or conservator to handle your financial or medical decisions.

 

Durable Power of Attorney Types in Georgia

There are two types of Georgia durable POA.

  1. The “present” power of attorney goes into effect immediately.
  2. A “springing” or “future” POA transfers decision-making to the designated individual when a doctor determines that a disability is present.

 

GA Durable POA

Someone selected to have GA durable POA is called an “attorney in fact.” Authorizing this power of attorney satisfies the following:

  • Allows you to choose who will make decisions for you
  • Goes into effect immediately upon a disability
  • Ensures your wishes are precisely followed

Although anyone can be chosen, a spouse, a close friend, or a loved one is often designated to make decisions as your power of attorney.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney enables you to select a trusted friend or family member to make decisions about medical treatment alternatives if you lose the capability to decide for yourself. In 2007, the “Durable POA for Health Care” and “Living Will” forms were replaced by the Advance Directive for Healthcare. Having this legal document will ensure that your wishes are followed in any event where you are unable to speak for yourself.

A health care representative with a power of attorney can make all general healthcare decisions or just those that pertain to specific treatment options. You can also list the exact directions that you would like your representative to observe. Clinics, hospitals, and other medical professionals must follow their orders as if they came from you, which, in fact, they did.

If you become incapacitated before having signed an Advance Directive for Health Care, the only way another individual can attain the authority to handle your affairs is by filing a Petition for Guardianship in the Probate Court. These proceedings can take 6-8 weeks, involve filing fees, as well as expensive legal fees.

Although any POA for healthcare or Living Will that you have already executed is still binding, it’s a good idea to read over your documents periodically and update them as needed.

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Financial Power of Attorney in Georgia

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A representative with a financial power of attorney is only authorized to handle the monetary tasks specified on the POA. Therefore, if a particular responsibility is not listed on a POA, the agent is not allowed to make decisions regarding it.

The State of Georgia has a Georgia Statutory Form for financial power of attorney that is set out in the law O.C.G.A. §10-6-142. In the statutory form for this legal document, a principal can specify which powers an agent may have and leave out any powers the principal doesn’t want to give to an agent.

Keep in mind that banks may refuse to accept a new POA legal document. Banks are trying to protect themselves. However, this protection can become a barrier for families if the principal becomes incapacitated and hasn’t signed a financial POA. It’s a good idea to preemptively contact your bank and other financial institutions to complete the legal documents they require, no matter if you’ve already had financial power of attorney. 

However, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides methods to force third parties like banks to account for a POA if some requiring conditions are met. If all the required documents are provided, third parties only have a handful of legitimate reasons to continue the refusal of a POA.

A limited POA, as found here, may not list all of the powers your representative may need, making it insufficient for some estate planning purposes. Your financial POA must be drafted by a qualified lawyer to ensure your estate is safe in any circumstance. Make sure you understand everything stated in the form before signing it.

The role of financial caregiving can be overwhelming for many agents. Agents may find this role confusing and hard. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made some tools that can help caregivers easily manage a loved one’s money.

Who Can Draft a POAGeorgia?

In the State of Georgia, any lawfully qualified resident over the age of 18-years can produce a POA. Since determining whether someone is lawfully qualified or has decision-making “capability” is a complex endeavor, mental health professionals or physicians are often consulted. A skilled lawyer experienced with incapacity planning can give you legal advice and help direct you to the right resources.

 

Who Can Be a POA Agent in Georgia?

In Georgia, a POA agent could be any resident at least 18-years-old who is legally competent. This is often a spouse, sibling, or offspring. Although you can designate more than one person as your agent, this often causes more problems than it prevents, as they have to make decisions together. A better alternative is to authorize one person as the primary agent and a second person as a backup.

When the primary agent passes away, the authority granted by a power of attorney ceases. Their estate is then managed in the manner outlined in their will and verified in Probate Court.

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Power of Attorney in Georgia: How Does It Work?

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When you have a Power of Attorney, he or she must present the original POA document when acting on your behalf. The agent making financial or medical decisions for you produces the paperwork to the bank or health care representative. Then he or she signs their own name followed by “Attorney in Fact for your name.”

 

How to Get Power of Attorney in Georgia?

It is essential to know how to get power of attorney in GA to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of obtaining a conservator for yourself in probate court. Although this would only be necessary if you become incapacitated, it is a step better avoided if possible.

Contacting a reputable law firm to advise you of the best options for your particular situation is advisable. Seek a lawyer with a verifiable history of positive results. Read their testimonials and check out their “about” page. Then schedule a consultation to determine whether there is a fit.

 

Can You Do a Power of Attorney in Georgia Without a Lawyer?

Yes, you can do a power of attorney by yourself. But you have to be very careful about the guidelines and laws of Georgia since every state has different procedures for it. However, if you approach attorneys to help you with the POA, the process would become much more accessible. Your lawyer will take care of everything including form creation, helping you to understand the process, provide legal advice about unseen situations, and help you select the type of power of attorney based on its authority.

 

Does a Power of Attorney Need to be Recorded in Georgia?

A POA should be notarized and witnessed by two adults, and the principal should keep the form in a safe place unless the authority needs to be used immediately. However, there is no need to record it in public records.

 

Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

There are many reasons to have a POA, specifically incapacity. Most people look for the power of attorney if they are facing unfavorable circumstances. For example, if you have to work overseas and want someone to deal with your stuff or are caught by a severe illness that would worsen over time. In such scenarios, having someone with the ability to take care of your legal matters is a relief. But make sure that the person should be of your family, i.e., your child, spouse, sibling, or any trusted relative or friend.

 

Power of Attorney for Property

Having a trusted person, family or friend, with authority to deal with your business, sign important property papers to lease or sell on your behalf is very helpful. Especially when the principal is dealing with incapacity, by filling the Georgia Real Estate Power of Attorney Form, you can easily nominate an agent to manage your property matters.

To submit this form for having POA for property, you (principal) will need a trusted person to have as an agent, notary public, and TWO witnesses at the time of submission.

 

Georgia Secure Power of Attorney

Georgia Secure Power of Attorney T-8S is a limited POA template that allows a motor vehicle’s owner to designate someone else for dealing with Georgia Motor Vehicle Division matters like registering and titling of the vehicle.

This POA document is printed on security paper and offers specific features to make any alterations immediately visible and to reduce illegal reproduction. This form also provides spaces for an odometer statement and is recommended by the Federal Truth in Mileage Act.

As with any other part of estate law, assigning a power of attorney to someone can be complicated and therefore is better left to the professionals. Contact an expert lawyer with ample experience with this essential and sensitive matter.

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