Washington, D.C., Financial Power of Attorney Form
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Do I Really Need a Financial Power of Attorney?
If you become incapacitated due to an accident or illness and do not have a power of attorney, your next of kin must file an action in probate called a conservatorship. In this action, the court determines who manages your real estate, business, financial, and family maintenance affairs and places your matters in a protective proceeding. If this occurs, there is no guarantee that the court will choose your preference to act in this role or that this person will manage your affairs in a way you approve. A power of attorney takes out this uncertainty. You choose who acts on your behalf should you become incapacitated and you define their powers.
A power of attorney can help in other situations besides incapacity. For example, you may plan a long trip abroad, be deployed as a service member, or require short-term assistance finishing one transaction (e.g., you are unavailable to close on your house.) A power of attorney makes these instances easier too.
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How It Works
The process takes less than an hour, and you can complete it from the comfort of your home.
Answer Some Questions
Decide who your agent will be and what authority you want them to have. Then, simply answer a few questions.
Create an Account
Creating an account is easy, quick, and secure. Save your information as you go and return when you have time.
Complete Your Document
Once you answer the relevant questions, we do the hard part and create your unique document.
Print, Sign & Make It Legal
Print and sign your document following the instructions. This may include signing in front of witnesses or a notary.
How To Get a Washington, D.C., Power of Attorney Form
Understand how a POA works in D.C.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf. The person making the appointment (you) is the principal. An agent in a power of attorney is also called an attorney-in-fact.
Washington, D.C. presumes powers of attorney are durable, meaning they remain effective regardless of your future incapacity. Most people prefer that their powers of attorney are durable since they execute them as a backup in case they are incapacitated or unavailable.
Powers of attorney are no longer enforceable if the principal is dead. If you wish to execute an instrument that manages your property or business after you die, choose a living trust or last will and testament.
Choose your agent
Choose your agent or attorney-in-fact carefully. They should be someone who looks out for your best interests and knows your essential matters — like whether you have a mortgage, where you run your business, where you bank, etc. Common agent choices include spouses and live-in partners. Single people may choose a close friend, family member, or business partner. Once you select your primary agent, designate a secondary agent. You never know if something occurs and leaves the first choice of agent unavailable or unwilling to carry out their duties in the power of attorney.
Define your agent’s duties
Your form will list duties and powers you can assign to your agent. They include the general powers that allow agents to sign contracts, handle records, and manage any current litigation (if applicable) on your behalf. You can also assign the specific powers defined in DC Code sections 21-2104 through 21-2117. Specific powers include real property, financial, business, and other routine transactions.
Find a notary
You must sign a Washington, D.C. power of attorney in front of a notary public. When you finish the form, check your financial institution to see if they have a notary on staff. If not, you can find notaries at print and mail service locations or hire a mobile notary public to visit you at home or work.
Store the original power of attorney in a safe deposit box or fireproof cabinet. Make copies of it and provide them to your agent, family members, and anyone else affected by its contents.
If you find you need to revoke your power of attorney, you can do so by executing a new power of attorney or a document called a revocation of power of attorney.
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
Ready to get started on your financial power of attorney? It’s free to start.Create My Form
Washington, D.C., Financial Power of Attorney Form FAQ
A Washington, D.C. estate planning attorney charges around $200 to $500 an hour to draft powers of attorney and offer legal advice. You can reduce this expense by completing a form through a DIY service like FindLaw’s.
FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. If you have legal questions or want a legal review of your document, you can hire an attorney to handle this limited scope — for less than the full legal process.
You can find free power of attorney forms online. However, you do not know if they are effective in Washington, D.C., or appropriate for your circumstances. They rarely come with instructions, and you may not finish them correctly. It is better to consult with an attorney or buy a form with instructions than to take a chance on free forms.
If you are a married wage earner whose assets are jointly owned, you will have fewer issues finishing a financial power of attorney correctly.
There are situations where you need an attorney for any estate planning documents, including a power of attorney. These situations carry more risk and more significant impacts if a power of attorney is not legally correct:
- High chance of family conflict that delays management of your affairs or estate
- You own a business or a majority share in a company or partnership
- You are single and choosing a non-family member as your attorney-in-fact
A Washington, D.C. estate planning attorney can help you with a durable power of attorney, but also a last will and testament, living trust, healthcare directive, and medical power of attorney. Follow the link to find an attorney in your area.
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