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Does my Power of Attorney need to be notarized?

Powers of attorney can help minimize the need for costly guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. Under Arizona law, certain requirements must be satisfied in order for a power of attorney to be valid. The requirements depend on the type of power of attorney.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney (often referred to as a durable general power of attorney) nominates an agent who may take financial actions on your behalf. Often, your agent's powers are only activated upon your incapacity. In Arizona, in addition to other legal requirements, a financial power of attorney must be signed, witnessed in writing by a person other than the agent, the agent's spouse, the agent's children or the notary public, who confirms you are at least 18, of sound mind and under no constraint or undue influence and it must be notarized.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney (or medical power of attorney) nominates an agent who may make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate. In Arizona, in addition to other legal requirements, a health care power of attorney must be signed and either notarized or witnessed in writing by a person who affirms they were present at the signing and that the person signing the document appeared to be of sound mind and free from duress. The notary or witness cannot be a person designated to make medical decisions on your behalf or directly involved with providing health care to you. Additionally, if there is only one witness, that witness can neither be related to you nor entitled to part of your estate.

Mental Health Care Power of Attorney

A mental health care power of attorney nominates an agent who may make mental health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to give informed consent to treatment. Although the execution formalities are similar to those required for a health care power of attorney, they are not identical (the witness must also affirm you are free from fraud or undue influence). Further, in order for your agent to have the power to admit you to a Level One Behavioral Health Facility, you must separately initial the paragraph granting this authority.

Although powers of attorney are relatively common documents, they must be properly executed. Grant McKeehan, PLC can help you ensure that you have valid powers of attorney in place. Call the firm today to speak with a Scottsdale estate planning attorney!

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Grant N. McKeehan, PLC - Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney
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