Tennessee Power of Attorney Form Template – Forbes Advisor






































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Published: Dec 19, 2023, 6:00am

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A power of attorney (POA) is an important legal tool in which you allow someone else to make crucial decisions on your behalf. This free Tennessee power of attorney form template is customizable and allows someone else (typically called an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) to make financial decisions for you. Download the form below.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document granting one person the right to act on behalf of another person. The person granting this authority is the principal, and the person given this power is the agent or “attorney-in-fact.”

The POA can be limited to a specific area of the principal’s life, for example, a medical power of attorney or a financial power of attorney. It can also be limited in duration or limited based on the state of the principal. If the principal becomes incapacitated, only a “durable” power of attorney will allow the agent to continue to act on the principal’s behalf.


Who Should Use a Power of Attorney Form?

An attorney specializing in estate planning would say everyone should use a power of attorney. This is because a person can become incapacitated with no warning and after that, you lose the ability to appoint an agent to act on your behalf.

However, anyone who wants to ensure that a specific person has the power to act on their behalf should consider a power of attorney. While it’s often associated with an inability to make decisions for yourself—whether through age or injury—a POA is a viable tool in any situation where you need someone to act for you.


How to Create a Power of Attorney in Tennessee

There are a few requirements needed to draft a Tennessee power of attorney. If you have any doubts, be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. The requirements typically are that:

  • The principal can make decisions for themselves
  • There is an actual written document
  • The document includes:
    • The name of the attorney-in-fact
    • The duties the principal gives the agent
    • The principal’s signature, properly notarized with one witness present
    • The date of execution

Store the original safely and regularly recheck your power of attorney as circumstances change. Consider also sending signed copies of the power of attorney documents to your attorney-in-fact, financial institution and important family members.


Types of Powers of Attorney

Principals can choose from several types of powers of attorney. But, generally speaking, there are two different categories of powers of attorney:

  • those based on mental soundness and
  • those based on what they do and don’t cover.

Capacity-Based Powers of Attorney

Protecting assets if someone becomes incapacitated is one of the main reasons for creating powers of attorney. That’s why many POAs are designed based on the capacity of the principal.

  • Durable Power of Attorney. Here, the principal intends for the authority granted to the agent to continue even after they become incapacitated. Durability is not presumed in Tennessee, which means a POA will not automatically remain effective if the principal becomes incapacitated or disabled. To be valid, it must contain the words “This power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal,” or “This power of attorney shall become effective upon the disability or incapacity of the principal,” or similar wording.
  • General Power of Attorney. A general (or “non-durable”) power of attorney can only be created when the principal is competent. If the principal becomes incapacitated, the POA is no longer effective.
  • Springing Power of Attorney. Here, the POA only becomes effective if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated. It’s also sometimes called a “standby” power of attorney.

Scope-Based Powers of Attorney

These powers of attorney are confined to a specific task or situation. They can be as narrow as a POA to sell a specific piece of property or asset. Or, they can be as broad as granting the agent the power to act in all financial matters for the principal.

The medical power of attorney (also called the appointment of a health agent) is perhaps the best-known scope-based power of attorney. This document grants the agent the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal. Typically, this is when principals cannot make those decisions themselves.


Who Can Be an Attorney-in-Fact?

Nearly anyone can serve as an attorney-in-fact. They do not need to be an actual attorney. They do, however, need to be a legal adult and not otherwise incapacitated.

Ensure that the attorney-in-fact is someone you trust. Note that principals may also select backup attorneys-in-fact, in case the primary is unreachable.


What Are the Signing Requirements for a Power of Attorney Form in Tennessee?

Who must sign a power of attorney and other requirements vary by state. In Tennessee, a power of attorney form must be notarized or be signed before two witnesses. Be sure to confirm current laws in your jurisdiction.

Consider getting the POA notarized, even if it’s not a requirement. This will give it an extra layer of protection in case someone challenges it.


Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Power of Attorney in Tennessee?

You can always go it alone and create your own Tennessee power of attorney. There are no requirements that you use an attorney. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

A power of attorney can grant broad powers to the attorney-in-fact, so it’s a good idea to have a trusted lawyer review the document before signing.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can override a power of attorney?

There are only two ways to override a power of attorney. The principal can override the POA—called “revocation”—as long as they are of sound mind. A revocation must be in writing and clearly express the intention to end the specific power of attorney.

The other way to override a power of attorney is through court action. A court can remove an agent directly or appoint a guardian or conservator to the principal, who could then revoke the POA themselves.

How do you get power of attorney if someone is incapacitated?

Power of attorney can only be granted by a principal of sound mind, so if someone becomes incapacitated, they can no longer appoint someone to be their agent. You can, however, petition the court to make you the person’s conservator or guardian. Once this appointment is made, you can act on the person’s behalf yourself or grant power of attorney to an agent to act for them.

Can you appoint two people as attorneys-in-fact?

You can appoint co-agents, but it is not recommended because then both of them must agree on every single decision. If they can’t agree, the court has to resolve the issues.

Instead, you can appoint one person as your attorney-in-fact and another as your alternate so that if the first person is not available, the second one can step in.

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Jeffrey Johnson started his editorial career nearly 20 years ago as an editor and researcher for McGraw Hill and Pearson. After earning an MFA from Chapman University and his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, he combined his editorial and writing experience with his legal education. He served as the Managing Legal Editor for the websites Free Advice and Law Firm, and has been featured as a legal expert on The Manifest and Vice.

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