A power of attorney (POA) is a powerful legal document in Pennsylvania which allows a person (the "principal") to appoint an agent to make decisions on his/her behalf. These decisions can involve financial matters, such as selling assets/real estate, paying bills, investing money, closing accounts, and making account inquiries, or health care matters including appointing someone to make medical decisions on the principal's behalf. A Power of Attorney is an extremely powerful legal document in Pennsylvania, as it can provide the agent with broad authority to act, and has to be drafted by an experienced Allegheny County POA Lawyer so as to avoid having this important document in the hands of the wrong person.
How do I get a Pennsylvania Power of Attorney?
In order to get a Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania, the Principal has to possess the requisite legal capacity at the time the POA is signed. The "test" for determining legal capacity requires that the Principal understands the nature of the authority they are giving to their Agent, understands what assets would be subject to the POA, and understands the Notice page, which comes before the Power of Attorney document. The Notice Page provides a warning to a person making a Power of Attorney that the document is extremely powerful - indicating that the Agent may handle the property of the Principal, may sell the property without any notice to the Principal, and also contains other rules regarding the POA document itself. The Principal must sign the Notice Page.
The POA document must be signed and dated by the Principal and be witnessed by two (2) adults. It is good practice in Pennsylvania to have a Power of Attorney notarized, but this is not a legal requirement under Pennsylvania law. Additionally, the Power of Attorney must also be signed by the Agent, which serves as the Agent's acknowledgment concerning the Agent's fiduciary duty or duties under the Pennsylvania POA. The Agent's "fiduciary duty" includes acting in the best interest of the Principal, acting with reasonable caution and prudence, keeping an accounting for the Principal, and always acting in the best interest of the Principal.
Power of Attorney in Pittsburgh: Types of Legal Powers
General Durable POA: A power of attorney in PA is presumed durable unless it is specified differently in the document. The Durable General Power of Attorney is effective upon execution and stays in effect even after the Principal suffers from incapacity. This makes the POA document very powerful, as the Agent is still able to act on behalf of an incapacitated person who cannot make decisions on his/her own.
Springing Durable POA: A principal may also execute a "Springing" Power of Attorney, which becomes effective based on the occurrence of a named event. Usually, this event is the Principal's incapacity.
Contact our Western PA
Power of Attorney Lawyers
Want to speak to an attorney about getting a POA? Contact us at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Allegheny County Power of Attorney Lawyers. Our Pittsburgh POA Lawyers can assist you with drafting one of these important documents so that you can rest assured knowing that these important decisions in your life will be made by someone of your choosing.
You can email us to arrange a telephone or in-person consultation or call 412-281-9906 or toll free at 1-855-VARI-LAW (1-855-827-4529). We can set up a consultation for you to speak with one of our experienced Power of Attorney Lawyers in our downtown Pittsburgh office, our Southpointe (Canonsburg) office or our office in Cranberry Township.