If I havea POA that was executed but not witnessed, is it valid?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question relating to requirements for a valid power of attorney.  As you may be aware, a power of attorney document designates an agent that handles the affairs of the individual creating the power of attorney.  The principal, the person creating the power of attorney, must be competent in order for the power of attorney to be valid.  The principal must be competent enough to know what kinds of decisions can and will be made by the agent under the power of attorney.  If the principal is not physically capable of signing the power of attorney, the principal may make any type of mark in place of the principal’s signature. 

In most cases, a notary public witnesses the signature form.  The registry of deeds should be notified of the power of attorney if the power of attorney deals with the lease, sell, or transfer of real property.  Some states require even more formalities for a power of attorney to be legalized.  Some states require a minimum number of witnesses to verify that the principal had the mental competency to sign the power of attorney.  Other states require that certain forms be attached to the power of attorney, and that these forms be executed as well as the original power of attorney document.

There are also various types of power of attorney, such as general power of attorney, specific or limited power of attorney, springing power of attorney, and durable power of attorney.  You may want to contact a wills and estates attorney in your area that handles power of attorney documents on a regular basis to verify the requirements in your state for a valid power of attorney.

 


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