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.
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:
- It provides a path to force third parties like financial institutions, to honor a Power of Attorney.
- 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.
What Does a Durable Power of Attorney Do?
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.
- The “present” power of attorney goes into effect immediately.
- 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.
Financial Power of Attorney in Georgia
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.