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Understanding Power of Attorney in Georgia

Power of attorney requirements in Georgia

Understanding Power of Attorney in Georgia
Understanding Power of Attorney in Georgia

You may want someone you trust to handle certain matters for you. This might be done for your convenience or because you have become incapacitated and aren't able to handle finances or make medical treatment decisions. What to know about the POA requirements in Georgia.

In Georgia, power of attorney must meet certain basic requirements, including being signed by the principal, witnesses, and a notary public. There are standardized forms available for financial and healthcare powers of attorney.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants one person the authority to act on behalf of another in legal or financial matters. Basically, the legal terms of a power of attorney state it's a legal document whereby one person, called the “agent," is given authority to act on behalf of another person, called the “principal."

Types of POA

There are various types of POAs, including durable, medical, and general, each serving different purposes and having different requirements.

  • Durable power of attorney. A POA that continues in effect after the principal becomes incapacitated.

  • Springing power of attorney. A POA that only becomes effective if the principal becomes incapacitated.

  • Healthcare power of attorney. A POA that allows your agent to make decisions about your medical treatment if you are unable to make or communicate decisions. By its very nature, a healthcare POA is both springing and durable.

The Role of a Notary in POA Notarization

Notary’s Responsibilities

A notary’s primary role in notarizing a POA is to verify the identity of the signatory and ensure that they understand the document and are signing it willingly.

Do You Need to be a Lawyer to Notarize a POA?

Understanding the Misconception

There is a common misconception that notarizing a POA requires legal expertise. However, being a lawyer is not a requirement for notarizing a POA.

State Laws and Regulations

Each state has its own regulations governing who can become a notary. In most cases, individuals do not need to be lawyers to qualify as notaries.

A notary can notarize a POA.

Legal Requirements for Notaries

Notaries must adhere to their state’s laws regarding notarization, which typically include maintaining a current notary commission and following specific procedures for notarization.

Georgia financial POA basics

The Georgia law covering financial POAs is found in the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, found in Title 10, Chapter 6B, of the Official Code of Georgia. A POA must meet all four of the following basic requirements for a power of attorney in Georgia:

  1. It must be signed by the principal. If the principal is unable to sign, another person may sign the principal's name at the direction of the principal and in the presence of the principal.

  2. It must be signed by one or more witnesses.

  3. It must be signed by a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths. The notary may not be a witness.

  4. The principal, witnesses, anyone signing for the principal, and the notary must all be present when they sign.

Step-by-Step Guide to Notarizing a POA

Preparing for the Notarization

Notaries should ensure they have all the necessary tools and understand the specifics of the POA document they are notarizing.

The Notarization Process

The process typically involves verifying the identity of the signatory, witnessing the signing, and affixing the notarial seal.

Challenges in Notarizing POAs

Common Issues Faced by Notaries

Notaries may encounter challenges such as signatories not understanding the document or issues with the document’s completeness.

Overcoming These Challenges

Staying informed about state laws and best practices can help notaries navigate these challenges effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should Be Checked Before Notarizing a POA?

  • Verify the identity of the signatory.

  • Ensure the signatory understands the document.

  • Check the completeness of the POA document.

Can a POA be Notarized Without the Principal Present?

  • Generally, the principal (the person granting the power) must be present and sign the document in the presence of the notary.

If you are a notary looking for more insights into notarizing a POA below is a video to help you understand the process better.

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Note: This article is for informational purposes. This content is not legal advice, it is the expression of the author


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