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Choose someone to act in financial matters on your behalf by executing a power of attorney (POA). FindLaw’s guided process means you can complete your own POA quickly and easily.

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Do I really need a power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a reasonable precaution for the unexpected. You may become incapacitated due to injuries you sustain in an accident or rendered temporarily unavailable while you work or travel abroad. In either situation, you need a power of attorney so your daily affairs (like working with financial institutions or paying bills) continue.

There are also situations where a power of attorney is essential. These may include:

  • Service in the armed forces
  • Recent terminal or chronic illness diagnosis
  • Frequent travel abroad
  • Work in hazardous conditions or around dangerous chemicals
  • Short term finance, business, or real estate transactions

If you do not execute a power of attorney, it puts your life on hold. For cases involving incapacity, your loved ones must file an action in probate court to appoint a conservator to handle your financial, real estate, business, and family maintenance matters. If that occurs, you have no guarantee that the court will appoint your first choice to act in that capacity, and you will force your loved ones to undergo financial and emotional hardship.

Written by:

Jocelyn Mackie, J.D.

Contributing Author

Bridget_Molitor_image

Reviewed by:

Bridget Molitor, J.D.

Managing Editor

Washington power of attorney options to fit your needs

Power of Attorney

For one person

A do-it-yourself power of attorney form that’s easy to personalize

$39
What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
A power of attorney that’s tailored to your needs
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$135
What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

How it works

The process takes less than an hour, and you can complete it from the comfort of your home

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time

Gather information

Indicate who your agent will be and what authority you want them to have

Complete your document

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary

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How to get a Washington power of attorney

Understand how a POA works in Washington

power of attorney is a legal document that appoints an agent to act on behalf of the principal. As the creator of a power of attorney, you are the principal. Your agent (or attorney-in-fact) is the individual you choose to carry out the duties and responsibilities you grant them in a power of attorney.

Washington follows the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, codified in Chapter 11.125. The Act explains the requirements for a power of attorney and the powers you assign to your agent. Most people execute broad powers of attorney so their agents can handle all matters that arise. However, you can make powers of attorney as extensive or limited as you prefer. Sometimes, people draft limited powers of attorney for one function, like appointing an agent to finish a business transaction or close on a home purchase.

Choose your agent

Consider your choices for agent or attorney-in-fact carefully. You want to choose someone knowledgeable about your financial accounts, daily transactions, fiduciary relationships, and other priorities. Most people appoint their spouses or live-in partners, but you can also select other family members, close friends, or a business associate. Also, choose a successor agent in case your first choice cannot serve in the future.

Choose the scope

The scope of a power of attorney is the duties and responsibilities you assign to your agent. Your form contains specific powers explained in the law (R.C.W. 11.125.250 through 11.125.410) and listed on your power of attorney form. You indicate which powers to assign to an agent by initialing after them or crossing them out. For example, you may choose to authorize your agent to handle real property, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, and family maintenance, but not the operation of your small business.

Find witnesses or a notary

You must sign your power of attorney in front of two or more witnesses or a notary public. Your witnesses cannot have any interest in your estate or be related to you by blood or marriage (including domestic partners). If you live in an adult care home, employees and operators of that home cannot be witnesses. It may be easier to find a notary public at your local bank branch or hire a mobile notary public to finalize your power of attorney — especially if you rarely socialize outside your family.

Make copies

Once final, make copies of your power of attorney and provide copies to your agent, family members, and any loved ones affected by its contents. Store the original in a safe deposit box or a secure fireproof file cabinet at home.

If your circumstances change, you can change or revoke a power of attorney by creating a new one. You can also execute a document called a revocation of power of attorney, but it is usually safer and easier to sign a new one.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if:

  • You don’t know who to choose as your agent
  • You want to use a POA for Medicaid planning
  • You want to discuss which powers you should give your agent
  • You want legal review of your completed power of attorney
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Frequently asked questions about Washington powers of attorney

You can find free power of attorney forms all over the Internet. However, you have no guarantee that they are relevant to your situation or legally enforceable in Washington. Free forms do not usually come with instructions, and you may find they require more formatting. Consider purchasing a complete form and hiring an attorney to review it.

If your situation is typical, you will likely discover a power of attorney is easy to complete. For example, wage-earners in long-term relationships with few complicating factors or assets often finish powers of attorney successfully. However, you should still consider hiring an attorney to review the document to make sure it is correct.

If you own a business, travel frequently, work in hazardous environments, or expect an imminent deployment as a service member, the accuracy and enforceability of your power of attorney are more critical. In these cases, hiring an attorney for a power of attorney and any other estate planning documents is the best course of action. A good estate planning law firm ensures you receive correct legal advice and finishes all the documents you need—including a last will and testament, health care power of attorney, healthcare directive, living will, or trust.

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