Does a Durable Power of Attorney in Georgia Need to Be Witnessed?

Full Question:

I'm I required to have a witness present when I sign a durable Power of Attorney Form?
03/29/2010   |   Category: Power of Attorney   |   State: Georgia   |   #21587

Answer:

In Georgia, a power of attorney that gives the agent the power to conduct financial transactions should be witnessed by two adult witnesses. At least one witness cannot be the Principal's spouse or blood relative.


Please see the following GA statutes:

10-6-36. A written power of attorney, unless expressly providing
otherwise, . . . .

A written power of attorney, unless expressly providing otherwise,
shall not be terminated by the incompetency or incapacity of the
principal. The power to act as an attorney in fact for a principal who
subsequently becomes incompetent or incapacitated shall remain in force
until such time as a conservator or receiver shall be appointed for the
principal or until some other judicial proceeding shall terminate the
power.

10-6-141. The following explanation for principals may be used with the.
. . .

The following explanation for principals may be used with the Georgia
Statutory Form for Financial Power of Attorney:

EXPLANATION FOR PRINCIPALS WHAT IS A FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?

This document is called a "Financial Power of Attorney." It allows you
to name one or more persons to help you handle your financial affairs.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you can give this person or
persons complete or limited power to act on your behalf. This document
does not give someone the power to make medical decisions or personal
decisions for you.

WHAT CAN MY AGENT DO?

The "Agent" is the person you give power to handle your financial
affairs.

The "Principal" is you.

Your decision to use this document is a very important one and you
should think carefully about what financial decisions you want your Agent
to make for you. With this document, you can give your Agent the right to
make all financial decisions or only certain, limited decisions.

For example, you can allow your Agent to handle all your financial
affairs, including the power to sell, rent, or mortgage your home, pay
your bills, cash or deposit checks, buy and sell your stock,
investments, or personal items, or you can allow your Agent to handle
only certain or specific financial affairs such as to pay your monthly
bills.

DO I GIVE ALL MY POWERS AWAY?

No. Even with this document, you can still handle your own financial
affairs as long as you choose to or are able to.

You need to talk to your Agent of ten about what you want and what he or
she is doing for you using the document. If your Agent is not following
your instructions or doing what you want, you may cancel or revoke the
document and end your Agent's power to act for you.

HOW DO I REVOKE MY FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?

You may revoke your financial power of attorney by writing a signed and
dated revocation of power of attorney and giving it to your Agent. You
should also give it to anyone who has been relying upon the financial
power of attorney and dealing with your Agent, such as your bank and
investment institutions.

Unless you notify all parties dealing with your Agent of your
revocation, they may continue to deal with your Agent. You should contact
a lawyer if your Agent continues to act after you have revoked the power
of attorney.

WHEN DOES MY AGENT'S AUTHORITY END?

As long as you are living, the financial power of attorney will remain
in effect even if you become incapacitated or unable to communicate
your wishes unless:

(1) A guardian is appointed for your property; or

(2) You include a date or specific occurrence when you want your
document to be canceled.

However, upon your death or the death of your Agent or successor
Agents, the document will be canceled and the Agent's power to act for
you will end.

You can also include a date or a specific occurrence like your
incapacity or illness as the time when you want your document to be
canceled and your Agent's power to act for you to end.

WHEN DO THE POWERS TAKE EFFECT?

Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to specify an occurrence
or a future date for the document to become effective. Unless you do
so, it becomes effective immediately.

MUST MY AGENT DO THOSE THINGS I AUTHORIZE?

No. But if your Agent accepts this responsibility and agrees to act for
you, he or she is required to sign and date the "Acceptance of
Appointment" contained in the financial power of attorney form.

HOW DO I COMPLETE THIS DOCUMENT?

Both the Principal and the Agent should read the full document
carefully before initialing or signing. The Principal and the Agent
should fully understand what powers are being granted to the Agent and
what restrictions, if any, exist.

Read each paragraph carefully. If you decide to give your Agent the
power described in the paragraph, initial your name at the end of the
paragraph.

If you do not wish to give your Agent the power described in a
paragraph, strike through and initial the paragraph or any line within
a paragraph.

HOW DO I EXECUTE THE DOCUMENT?

Two adult witnesses must watch you sign your name on the document. At
least one witness cannot be the Principal's spouse or blood relative.
After they witness you signing your name, the witnesses must sign their
names.

This document does not need to be notarized unless real property
transactions such as leasing, selling, or mortgaging of property are
authorized.

THIS DOCUMENT REFLECTS THE WISHES OF THE PRINCIPAL.

Do not let anyone pressure you into making a financial power of
attorney, naming an Agent, or granting a power unless it is your
choice.

If you do not understand any portion of this document, you should ask a
lawyer to explain it to you.

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