Virginia Power Of Attorney Form Template – Forbes Advisor






































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Updated: Dec 19, 2023, 8:39am

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A power of attorney (POA) is a powerful legal document that allows someone else (an attorney-in-fact or agent) to make important decisions on your behalf. If you live in Virginia, download this free Virginia power of attorney form to help ensure your financial matters will be handled according to your wishes.

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?

Anyone who wants to ensure that a specific person has the power to act on their behalf should consider a power of attorney. A POA is a powerful, viable tool in any situation where you need someone to act for you. You don’t have to be old or sick.

That said, if someone with a durable power of attorney does become incapacitated, they’re covered. Indeed, if you consult with an estate planning attorney, odds are they will discuss using a power of attorney as a key part of your estate plan.


How to Create a Power of Attorney in Virginia

In order for a power of attorney to be valid in Virginia, it must be in writing and contain all of the following:

  • The name of the agent or attorney-in-fact
  • The scope of the POA, meaning the rights and responsibilities the principal is assigning to the agent or attorney-in-fact
  • The principal’s signature
  • Notarization

In addition, the principal must be competent to grant the power of attorney. Being competent—sometimes called being “of sound mind”—means having sufficient mental capacity to understand what they’re doing and being able to make their own decisions.


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 presumed in Virginia, which means a POA will automatically remain effective if the principal becomes incapacitated or disabled.
  • 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 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 Virginia?

Signing requirements vary by state. In Virginia, a power of attorney form requires notarization. This provides an extra layer of validity if someone challenges your power of attorney form.


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

You don’t need a lawyer to create a power of attorney in Virginia. However, you should seek the help of a trusted attorney to review and finalize your document to ensure it’s legally sound.


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. In most states, 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 a power of attorney if someone is incapacitated?

A 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.

How do you take power of attorney away from someone?

Anyone besides the principal or their guardian can only take away power of attorney but only by petitioning the court to intervene. As the principal—or the principal’s legally-appointed guardian or conservator—you can revoke a POA at any time, as long as you are of sound mind. Typically, you need to revoke the agent’s ability to act for you in writing and the revocation must clearly state the intention to revoke the power of attorney.

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Adam Ramirez has been writing and editing about the law and legal issues for more than 20 years. After earning a law degree from the University of Arizona, he clerked for two years for a U.S. District Court judge. He researched and wrote legal precedent in published opinions on behalf of the Court. He previously was an editor, columnist and journalist at the Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The Oregonian, Golf Digest, FindLaw.com and other media outlets.

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