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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Idaho 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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If you are suddenly incapacitated, who will manage your financial affairs? A power of attorney lets you put someone you trust to act in your place when you can’t make legal and financial decisions yourself. Learn about power of attorney documents and how to create a valid Idaho power of attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes one person, known as the agent or attorney in fact, to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal, in legal and financial matters. Idaho’s power of attorney rules are found in §15-12-101 to §15-12-403 in the Idaho statutes.

There are different types of power of attorney documents for different purposes. A financial power of attorney is for someone making legal and financial decisions and actions such as paying bills, filing tax returns, and managing real estate on behalf of the principal. A health care power of attorney, called a living will and durable power of attorney for health care in Idaho, is for someone making health care decisions and following your instructions for end-of-life treatment and care.

Suppose you suddenly are unable to manage your affairs and don’t have a power of attorney. In that case, your family members must petition a court for a conservatorship. A court then appoints a conservator to handle decisions for you, which may be someone you dislike. A power of attorney avoids having to go through a conservatorship process.

Who Can Be My Agent?

In Idaho, an agent must be at least 18 years old and competent. You can name a family member, friend, or professional, such as an accountant, financial advisor, or attorney. When choosing your power of attorney agent, find someone who is trustworthy, organized, and responsible. Your agent must avoid conflicts of interest, and they have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.

Avoid naming co-agents in your power of attorney. If your co-agents must act jointly, nothing will be done when they disagree. If your co-agents can act independently, they may contradict each other’s actions and confuse third parties. Instead, name one agent as your primary agent and another as the backup or successor agent if your primary agent is unwilling or unable to serve.

What Can My Agent Do in Idaho?

Your agent in Idaho can handle transactions you authorize, such as managing your investments and property and accessing bank accounts. You may give general authority for your agent to handle the following transactions involving the subject matters as outlined in §15-12-201 through §15-12-217:

  • 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, under §15-12-201, there are certain areas that you must expressly authorize because they may allow your agent to reduce your estate. For example, your agent may think it is best to reduce your estate to minimize estate taxes or qualify you for government benefits like Social Security or Medicaid. These are the powers to:

  • Create, amend, revoke, or terminate a living trust
  • Make a gift
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Delegate authority granted under the 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

Determine what powers you want to grant your agent and talk to them about your wishes for them to handle your money and property.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney in Idaho?

A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This means the POA does not end if the principal can no longer make decisions. This durability ensures ongoing management of the principal’s affairs. Under §15-12-104, a power of attorney is durable unless it states otherwise that it terminates by the principal’s incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Under §15-12-109, a power of attorney is effective when signed unless the document specifies a future date or is a “springing” POA, which becomes effective upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as the principal’s incapacity.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

A power of attorney ends when the principal revokes it or dies. Other events terminate a power of attorney, such as the incapacity of the principal if the POA is non-durable. Or if the purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished.

It also ends if your agent dies, resigns, or becomes incapacitated unless you name a successor agent. And if your agent is your spouse and you end the marriage, your agent’s authority automatically ends. That is why it is a good practice to include successor agents in your power of attorney document.

Does Idaho Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. Under §15-12-301, Idaho provides a statutory power of attorney form. However, you are not required to use this form, especially since it is hard to customize. There are other options for an Idaho POA, such as making a power of attorney yourself or hiring an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Idaho?

Yes. You can create your power of attorney in Idaho. Many people find state-specific online estate planning forms that conform to Idaho law. If you have questions about making a power of attorney, however, consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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

To make your power of attorney valid, you must follow the execution requirements under §15-12-105. You must sign your power of attorney or direct someone to sign it on your behalf and in your conscious presence. Although not required, it is a good idea to notarize your power of attorney. Notarization authenticates your signature, making your power of attorney acceptable in most places.

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

While a notary public is not required by Idaho law, it creates a presumption that the signature is genuine and may be necessary if the document is to be used in transactions involving real estate or financial institutions.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your POA, give copies to your agent, financial institutions, and anyone else who may need it. Keep your original document in a secure location and inform trusted individuals where it can be found. A financial institution may ask your agent to sign 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 Idaho?

In Idaho, your agent is entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses for actions under your power of attorney. Your agent may also receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Idaho Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, other states will honor an Idaho power of attorney that is created and executed according to Idaho state laws.

Can I Revoke My Idaho Power of Attorney?

Yes. As long as you are competent, you may revoke power of attorney at any time. To revoke your power of attorney, make a written statement of revocation and give copies to your agent and any other necessary parties that rely on the original. You should also destroy the original POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Idaho?

A financial power of attorney is critical when you can’t manage your financial and legal affairs. However, there are other estate planning documents to consider to complete your estate plan.

A health care directive incorporates a health care power of attorney and a living will. In this directive, you choose a health care agent to advocate for you when you can’t. They manage your healthcare information and make medical decisions on your behalf. You can include wishes for medical treatments and life-prolonging measures you want to be given or withheld when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament is a legal document of your wishes for how you want your estate managed and distributed. You name someone to handle your estate, called a personal representative, and identify beneficiaries of your estate. You can also name who you want to care for your minor children. Without a will, you die “intestate.” A probate court then follows state intestacy laws to distribute your property and assets and decides who cares for your children. Having a will speeds up the probate process, saving your loved ones time and money.

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

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