How to Legalize a Power of Attorney

By Charlie Gaston
A power of attorney must be recorded at the courthouse where you live.

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A power of attorney is a legal instrument awarding another person the authority to make financial decisions for you. Even though you grant this person the authority to make decision under a power of attorney, you still have the power to make decisions. If you become dissatisfied with the work the other person is doing, you can revoke the person's authority at any time.

Choose the person best suited to follow instructions and act on your behalf for certain duties and responsibilities. Make sure the person understands your point of view and is knowledgeable about finances.

Fill out a general power of attorney form or hire an attorney to draft one for you. Several online document suppliers offer free blank templates. Identify the person you want to act on your behalf as your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact." Identify yourself as the "principal."

Give instructions for property such as a house or a camp, savings such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit and income such as salary, pension, Social Security benefits. Outline the exact duties and responsibilities your power of attorney will assume on your behalf.

Have the document notarized by a notary public. A notary public will verify your signature and confirm that you are fully competent at the time of signing. Some states also require that you have two witnesses verify your signature.

Record the power of attorney in the Registry of Deed in the county where you life. If the durable power of attorney addresses the power to sell, lease, or transfer ownership of real estate in other counties, file the durable power of attorney in the county courthouse where the property is located after it is recorded in your home county. You can obtain a certified copy of the power of attorney at any time.

Convey the original durable power of attorney to your agent, so he can show it to interested parties. Retain a copy for your records.

About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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