- What does “Power of Attorney” mean?
Power of Attorney means that you legally give another person the power to make decisions on your behalf. This person can make medical or financial decisions for you if you are not able to make these decisions for yourself.
- Why should I have a Power of Attorney?
In the event you are not able to make decisions for yourself, it is important to have someone you trust make those important medical and financial decisions. Without a POA, a person you trust, even a spouse, may not be able to make these decisions for you.
- Are there different kinds of POA
Yes, there are several kinds of POA, including: Financial (often called General or Durable), Medical, Mental Health, and Power of Attorney for your caregiver when you go out of town without your children. The right kind of Power of Attorney depends on your own situation.
- Who can serve as a Power of Attorney?
In Arizona, anyone over the age of 18 who is competent may serve as your POA.
- How is a POA created?
POA are worded somewhat differently in each state. A Power of Attorney in Arizona must be in writing, with clear language indicating the type of Power of Attorney, signed by you and a witness must be present. A Financial Power of Attorney must be also notarized.
- What happens with the Power of Attorney once it is completed?
After the POA is completed, you should keep the original somewhere safe. I recommend giving a hard copy or digital copy to your named POA person(s).
The following questions refer to Financial Powers of Attorney. Once a Financial Power of Attorney is created you may choose to file it at the County Recorder’s Office. This makes it public record. Otherwise, you and your Power of Attorney may keep your own records. If you do not file it as public record, then third parties will require you or your Power of Attorney to produce the document.
- Can I cancel or edit a Power of Attorney?
Yes, you may cancel or edit your POA at any time. The changes must be in writing and signed with a witness and/or notary.
- How do others know if I have a Power of Attorney?
You must provide third parties with the document when the POA needs to be used.
- How long does a Power of Attorney last?
You may designate how long your POA lasts depending on your situation (durable vs. nondurable). Otherwise, the Power of Attorney ends upon your death.
- Is a Power of Attorney created in Arizona valid in other states?
Yes and no. A POA created in Arizona should be valid in other states. However, as a practical matter, if you move to a different state permanently, out of state documents are sometimes not received well. I recommend having an attorney in the new state review your POA and perhaps redo them for that state.