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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Connecticut

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

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A power of attorney is a document that helps you when you can’t handle your own affairs. Learn how Connecticut power of attorney documents benefit you and how you can make a valid Connecticut power of attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone, known as the principal, to designate another person, called an agent, to act on their behalf in legal and financial matters. The Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act, C.G.S.A. §1-350, governs power of attorney laws in Connecticut.

You use different types of power of attorney documents for different purposes. A financial power of attorney allows you to name an agent to manage legal and financial affairs when you can’t. If you have a sudden disability or incapacity and can’t manage your affairs without a power of attorney, your family will have to file for a conservatorship. The court then appoints a conservator with the legal authority to manage your life. When you have a power of attorney, you avoid conservatorship and control who can speak for you when you can’t.

A health care power of attorney and living will allows you to name an agent to handle your health care decisions and follow your instructions for end-of-life care. In Connecticut, this is called an advance healthcare directive.

Who Can Be My Agent?

In Connecticut, your agent can be any competent adult, such as a trusted friend, family member, accountant, or attorney. Your agent should be someone you trust to manage your affairs. When choosing an agent, look for someone who is also organized and responsible. Your agent has broad powers over your assets and property, but they have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and for your benefit.

While you may wish to name more than one agent in your power of attorney, it becomes complicated. If your agents must act jointly, they may disagree, and nothing gets done. If you allow your agents to act independently, they may contradict each other’s actions. Avoid co-agents and instead name one person as your primary agent and another person as your backup or successor agent. If your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve, your second choice can serve as your agent.

What Can My Agent Do in Connecticut?

Your agent can perform a variety of tasks on your behalf, such as handling real estate transactions, managing financial accounts, and making investment decisions. Under C.G.S.A. §1-351 to 1-351p, you decide what general authority you want to grant your agent to handle transactions involving:

  • 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

Under §1-351, there are certain powers that you must expressly grant because they allow your agent to reduce your estate in the following ways:

  • Create, amend, revoke, or terminate a living trust
  • Make a gift
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • 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 power over the principal’s digital devices, digital assets, and electronic communications
  • Handle principal’s intellectual property

There are situations where you may want your agent to reduce your estate, for example, to qualify you for government programs such as Medicaid or to minimize your estate taxes. Your agent has significant control, so think carefully about what powers you want to give them.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Connecticut?

A durable power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated. In Connecticut, under C.G.S.A. §1-350c, a power of attorney is considered durable unless it explicitly states in the POA that it terminates upon the principal’s incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

A POA in Connecticut is typically effective immediately upon execution unless the document specifies a different effective date or contingent event, called a “springing” power of attorney, as provided under C.G.S.A. §1-350h.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

The power of attorney ends upon the principal’s death, revocation, or other events outlined in C.G.S.A. §1-350i, such as the principal’s incapacity if the POA is not durable or the agent’s resignation or incapacity. When the power of attorney ends, the agent’s authority automatically terminates.

Does Connecticut Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. The state of Connecticut has both long and short statutory power of attorney forms under §1-352. However, you are not required to use their statutory forms. There are other options for a Connecticut POA: either create a power of attorney document tailored to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Connecticut?

Yes. In Connecticut, you must be 18 or older and mentally competent to make a power of attorney. If you know who you want to be your agent and what powers you want to give them, you are ready to make one.

Many people use online estate planning forms that comply with state laws, and they follow the state requirements for execution. If you have questions about making a power of attorney, however, you should consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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

To make your power of attorney valid in Connecticut, you must sign and date the document in front of two witnesses and a notary public or other authorized individual, as required by C.G.S.A. §1-350d.

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

Yes, notarization is a requirement for a Connecticut POA to be valid. This formal acknowledgment before a notary verifies the identity of the principal and the authenticity of the signature.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your power of attorney you should store the original in a secure place and give copies to your agent and any relevant financial institutions. A bank or other third party may ask your agent to complete an agent certification form in which your agent certifies that your power of attorney is effective and they have the authority to act as your agent.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney, your agent may receive reasonable compensation for their time. However, they are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses for acting under your power of attorney.

Is My Connecticut Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, a Connecticut power of attorney complying with Connecticut law is recognized in other states.

Can I Revoke My Connecticut Power of Attorney?

Yes. You have the right to revoke power of attorney at any time, as long as you are competent. Your revocation should be in writing and delivered to your agent and any relevant parties who received your original POA. It is a good idea to destroy your original POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Connecticut?

While a financial power of attorney helps you when you can’t manage your legal or financial matters, there are other estate planning documents to consider. Along with your financial POA, an advance healthcare directive and a last will and testament make a complete estate plan.

An advance health care directive allows you to appoint a health care representative to speak to your health care providers and make medical decisions when you can’t. You can also express your wishes for the medical treatments or life-prolonging measures you want or don’t want when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament is a legal document used after your death to instruct a probate court about your wishes for who manages your estate, who inherits your property, and who cares for your minor children. Without a will, the court must follow state intestacy laws to distribute your estate, and they decide who will have custody of your children, and you may not like the results. Having a will protects your family and speeds up probate, saving your loved ones time and money.

Fortunately, it is easy to create your Connecticut estate plan with online estate planning templates.

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