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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Georgia FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Jordan Walker, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 14, 2024

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A power of attorney allows you to have someone to manage your financial matters when you cannot. Learn how a power of attorney may help you and how to create one according to Georgia’s state laws.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document where you (as the “principal”) authorize someone else to act in your place (as your “agent). A financial power of attorney is helpful when you cannot handle your financial life either due to being away from home or having a sudden incapacity. If you can’t manage your financial affairs, your family will have to petition a court for conservatorship, and a court will name someone as your conservator. Naming someone to be in charge when you can’t gives you control of how you want to manage things. For health care decisions, you may want an advance directive for health care where you name an agent to make decisions and detail wishes for your care.

Who Can Be My Agent?

You can choose anyone you want to serve as your agent, whether that person is a family member, friend, accountant, or attorney. They must be 18 or older and mentally competent. Your agent should be organized and responsible and should be someone you trust. While they have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith for your benefit, they have broad powers over your money and life.

While you may want two agents, avoid using co-agents because it can become very complicated. If your agents act jointly, they may disagree and won’t be able to act. If your agents can act independently, they may contradict each other’s actions and confuse third parties.

What Can My Agent Do in Georgia?

In your financial POA, you decide what powers to grant your agent, for example, paying bills, accessing bank accounts, managing real estate, and operating your business. In your power of attorney, you specify your agent’s authority to make financial decisions and handle subjects such as the following:

  • Real property (real estate)
  • Tangible personal property
  • 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

There are also powers you may want to give your agent, especially if you want your agent to reduce your estate for estate tax planning purposes or to qualify you for government benefits. Georgia requires you to expressly grant these specific powers if you want your agent to have the authority to:

  • Create, fund, amend, revoke, or terminate a living trust
  • Make a gift, subject to the limitations of Georgia law and any special instructions you provide
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Authorize another person to exercise the authority granted under your power of attorney
  • Waive your right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercise authority over the content of electronic communications sent or received by you
  • Exercise fiduciary powers that you have the authority to delegate
  • Renounce an interest in property, including a power of appointment

Think carefully about what powers to grant your agent and discuss with them how you would like them to manage your affairs.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Georgia?

durable power of attorney is one that remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. A power of attorney made in Georgia is presumed to be durable unless the POA expressly provides that it is terminated by the principal’s incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

According to Georgia’s laws, a power of attorney is effective when executed unless the principal provides in the power of attorney that it becomes effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of a future event or contingency. This is called a “springing” power of attorney.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

If you are mentally competent, you can revoke your power of attorney. However, there are other events which may terminate your power of attorney, such as:

  • Death of the principal
  • Death of the agent, and you did not name a backup or successor agent
  • The agent is unable or unwilling to serve, and you did not name a backup or successor agent
  • You specified a termination date or event in your power of attorney, and that date or event occurs

Additionally, if you name your spouse as your agent and you divorce or your marriage is annulled or terminated, their agent’s authority is automatically revoked unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Does Georgia Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. Georgia has a statutory power of attorney form in §10-6B-70 of the Georgia code. However, you do not have to use the statutory form as it limits what you can do. There are better options for a Georgia POA. You can either create your own power of attorney document customized to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney to draft one for you.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Georgia?

Yes. If you are mentally competent and 18 or older, you can make your own power of attorney. You should know who you want to be your agent and what powers you want to give them. Many people use online estate planning forms to create their power of attorney. Be sure to look for state-specific POA forms that you can tailor to your situation. If you have questions about making a power of attorney or don’t know who to choose as your agent, you should consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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

Under Georgia §10–6b–5, you sign your power of attorney as the principal or direct someone to sign for you in your presence. A competent witness must be present at the signing. However, the witness cannot be an agent named in the power of attorney. A notary public must also attest to the signatures. The notary cannot be a named agent or a witness.

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

Yes. In the state of Georgia, you must sign your power of attorney before a notary to make your document valid.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After you sign your power of attorney, distribute copies to your agent, successor agents, and any third parties to whom you want to have the document. Some third parties, such as a bank, may require your agent to complete an agent certification form in which they attest that the power of attorney is valid, in effect, and they have the authority to act on your behalf.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Georgia?

Your agent may receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with your power of attorney. However, they may only receive compensation for their services if you authorize it in your document.

Is My Georgia Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Other states will accept a Georgia power of attorney created and executed following Georgia laws.

Can I Revoke My Georgia Power of Attorney?

Yes. A principal, as long as they are mentally competent, may revoke power of attorney by delivering a revocation document to their agent, successor agents, and any third parties. The revocation document should reference the original POA, the date signed, and the agents named in that POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Georgia?

A financial power of attorney is an important document when you suddenly can’t handle your affairs. Other estate planning documents to consider for a complete estate plan include an advance directive for health care and a last will and testament.

An advance directive for health care incorporates a medical power of attorney and a living will or advance directive. You can authorize a healthcare agent to receive your medical information, speak with healthcare providers, and make medical decisions for you. In your directive, you can express your wishes for the medical treatments or life-prolonging measures you want when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament only goes into effect after your death. In your will, you leave instructions on who manages your estate (your personal representative), who inherits your property (your beneficiaries), and who cares for your minor children (a guardian). If you don’t have a will, you die intestate, and a court follows state intestacy laws and makes these decisions. You can save your loved ones time and money in probate court by expressing your wishes in your will.

Fortunately, making a valid power of attorney and creating other Georgia estate planning documents is easy with online estate planning templates.

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