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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Colorado FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Madison Hess, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 13, 2024

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A power of attorney allows you to name someone you trust to manage your financial affairs when you cannot. Learn about Colorado power of attorney documents and how to make a valid power of attorney in Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document where you, as the “principal,” authorize another person as your “agent” to act on your behalf. There are different types of power of attorney documents. You use a financial power of attorney when you cannot handle legal or financial matters due to a disability or incapacity. For health care matters, you use a medical durable power of attorney, where you name an agent to make medical decisions and detail wishes for your care.

If you don’t have a power of attorney and can’t handle your affairs, your family has to petition a court for conservatorship, which is a costly process. A court appoints someone as your conservator with the legal authority to act in your place. Having power of attorney documents avoids the need for a conservatorship.

Who Can Be My Agent?

Anyone 18 or older and mentally competent may act as your agent. You can select a family member, friend, accountant, or attorney. When choosing an agent, make sure they are trustworthy, organized, and responsible. Your agent has a fiduciary duty, meaning they must act in good faith in the principal’s best interest, but remember, they have broad authority over your property and assets.

Avoid using co-agents in your power of attorney because they complicate things. Agents acting jointly may disagree, and nothing gets done. Agents acting independently may contradict each other and confuse third parties.

What Can My Agent Do in Colorado?

You decide what you want your agent to do under your power of attorney for finances. Typical tasks are accessing bank accounts, paying bills, managing real estate, and making financial decisions. Under §15-14-727-§15-14-740 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, you can grant your agent general authority to handle transactions involving the following:

  • Real property (real estate)
  • Tangible personal property (possessions)
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Commodities and options
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Operation of entity or business
  • Insurance and annuities
  • Estates, trusts, and other beneficial interests
  • Claims and litigation
  • Personal and family maintenance
  • Benefits from governmental programs or civil or military service.
  • Retirement Plans
  • Taxes
  • Gifts

However, there are certain powers under §15-14-724, for which you must specifically grant to your agent. These powers allow your agent to reduce your estate.

  • Create, amend, revoke, or terminate a living trust
  • Make a gift
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Authorize another person to exercise authority under this power of attorney
  • Waive the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate
  • Disclaim property, including a power of appointment
  • Exercise a power of appointment
  • Exercise a power over a business entity that you might exercise

Why would you want your agent to reduce your estate? You may want them to reduce your estate to qualify you for government benefits like Social Security or Medicaid or to minimize estate taxes. Your agent has significant control over financial matters, so think carefully about what powers you want to give your agent.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Colorado?

durable power of attorney in Colorado means your power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated. Under §15-14-704, your power of attorney is durable unless you expressly provide that it terminates upon your incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Under §15-14-709, a Colorado POA is effective when signed. However, you can provide that it becomes effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of a future event or contingency, such as your incapacity, called a “springing” power of attorney.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

Under Colorado §15-14-710, your power of attorney ends and your agent’s authority automatically terminates upon:

  • Death of the principal
  • Incapacitation of principal if the power of attorney is non-durable
  • Revocation by principal of their power of attorney
  • Termination provision in the power of attorney
  • Power of attorney’s express purpose is accomplished
  • Revocation by principal of the agent’s authority
  • Death or incapacitation of agent without a backup or successor agent.
  • Your agent’s authority terminates when:
  • The principal revokes the authority
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns
  • Your agent is your spouse, and your marriage ends in divorce, annulment, or legal separation unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney
  • Your power of attorney terminates

It is a good practice to name backup or successor agents to your power of attorney.

Does Colorado Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. Colorado has a statutory power of attorney form under §15-14-741. However, you do not have to use their statutory form as it is hard to customize. There are other options for a Colorado POA: create a power of attorney document tailored to your situation or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Colorado?

Yes. You can make your own power of attorney in Colorado if you are 18 or older and mentally competent. If you know your choices of who you want to be your agent and what powers you want to grant them, you are ready to make a power of attorney. Use state-specific forms that follow the state execution requirements. Many people looking to do it themselves use customizable online estate planning forms. However, if you have questions about making a power of attorney, you should consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Colorado?

Colorado has specific requirements under §15-14-705 to make a power of attorney valid. The principal must sign the document or direct someone to sign it for them in their presence. A notary public must also attest to the principal’s signature.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Colorado?

Yes. In Colorado, a notary must acknowledge the principal’s signature on the power of attorney document.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

Keep your original power of attorney in a safe place and give copies to your agent and relevant third party. A third party may require an agent certification form in which your agent certifies that your power of attorney is adequate and that they can act on your behalf.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Colorado?

In Colorado, your agent is entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred while acting under your power of attorney. They may receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Colorado Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, other states will recognize a power of attorney created and executed in Colorado according to Colorado state law.

Can I Revoke My Colorado Power of Attorney?

Yes. If you are competent, you have the right to revoke your power of attorney at any time. Your “Revocation of Power of Attorney” should be a written statement that is given to your agent and all relevant parties.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Colorado?

A financial power of attorney helps you when you can’t manage your own affairs and avoids the need for conservatorship. You decide who can act on your behalf. There are other estate planning documents, such as a medical durable power of attorney and a last will and testament, to complete your estate planning.

A medical durable power of attorney in Colorado incorporates a medical power of attorney and a living will or advance directive. You authorize your agent to get medical information, speak to your doctors, and handle your healthcare decisions. You may also provide instructions for end-of-life care, such as medical treatments or life-prolonging measures you want or don’t want.

last will and testament lets you control who handles your estate (your personal representative or executor), who inherits your property (your beneficiaries), and who is the guardian of your minor children. If you don’t have a will, you die “intestate,” and a probate court follows Colorado intestacy laws for property distribution and decides who is in charge of your estate and your children. A will gives you peace of mind that you are protecting your loved ones.

Fortunately, with online estate planning templates, it is easy to make a valid power of attorney and create other Colorado estate planning documents.

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