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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Indiana FAQ

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

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If you are unable to manage your own affairs due to an illness, disability, incapacity, or unavailability, you can designate someone to act in your place with a power of attorney document. Learn about powers of attorney and how to create a valid Indiana power of attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes someone, known as the principal, to designate another person, called an attorney in fact, to act on their behalf. There are many types of power of attorney documents. A financial power of attorney allows your attorney in fact to make financial decisions and handle legal matters. For health care decisions in Indiana, you would designate a health care representative in an advance directive, which is similar to a medical power of attorney.

If you do not have a power of attorney and can’t handle your financial affairs, your family members must petition a court for a conservatorship. A court then appoints a conservator with the legal authority to manage your financial and legal matters. This is an expensive and lengthy process, so you may want to decide who you want to be in charge instead of a court.

Who Can Be My Attorney in Fact?

Any adult (age 18 or older) and competent (sound mind) may serve as your attorney in fact. This person will act on your behalf according to the powers you grant them. When choosing an attorney in fact, look for someone trustworthy, responsible, and organized. Your attorney in fact must act in good faith and in your best interest, following the instructions in your power of attorney.

It is best to name a primary attorney in fact and a backup or successor attorney in fact if your primary attorney in fact is unable or unwilling to serve. Avoid naming co-attorneys in fact because they may disagree or contradict each other.

What Can My Attorney in Fact Do in Indiana?

You decide what powers you want to grant your attorney in fact. Generally, an attorney in fact performs a variety of financial transactions such as paying bills, handling tax matters, and managing your property.

You may want your attorney in fact to be able to handle the following:

  • Real Property (Real Estate) Transactions
  • Tangible Personal Property Transactions
  • Bond, Share, and Commodity Transactions
  • Retirement Plans
  • Banking Transactions
  • Business Operating Transactions
  • Insurance Transactions
  • Transfers on Death or Payable on Death Transfers
  • Beneficiary Transactions
  • Gift Transactions
  • Fiduciary Transactions
  • Claims and Litigation
  • Family Maintenance
  • Benefits from Military Service
  • Records, Reports, and Statements
  • Authorization of Attorney in Fact; Powers
  • Estate Transactions
  • Delegation of Authority
  • All Other Matters

Because your attorney in fact has broad control over your property and assets, think carefully about what powers you want to give them.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Indiana?

durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This type of POA ensures that the attorney in fact can continue to manage the principal’s affairs without interruption due to the principal’s incapacitation or inability to make decisions.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

A POA becomes effective at the time you specify in your power of attorney document. It could be immediately upon signing or a “springing power of attorney,” meaning it is effective at a specified future date or upon the occurrence of an event, such as your incapacity.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

You can direct when you want your power of attorney to end, and you may revoke it at any time as long as you are competent. There are other occasions when your power of attorney ends, and your attorney in fact’s authority terminates, such as:

  • When the principal dies
  • When the principal is incapacitated and the power of attorney is non-durable
  • When the attorney in fact dies, and there is no backup or successor attorney in fact
  • When the attorney in fact is incapacitated, and there is no backup or successor attorney in fact
  • When there is a termination date or event
  • When there is divorce or legal separation, the attorney in fact’s authority ends if the attorney in fact is the principal’s spouse.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to name a backup or successor attorney in fact in your power of attorney document.

Does Indiana Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Indiana does not have a statutory power of attorney form, but you must follow Indiana state requirements for a valid power of attorney. You can either create your power of attorney document customized to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Indiana?

Yes. Indiana does not require you to use an attorney to draft a power of attorney document. Many people who know who they want as their attorney in fact, and the powers they wish to grant use online estate planning forms. However, if you do not have someone in mind to be your attorney in fact or have questions about power of attorney documents, you should consult an attorney for legal advice.

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

You must be 18 or older and competent to make a power of attorney. To be valid, a POA must be in writing, name an attorney in fact, grant them the power to act for the principal, and be signed by the principal with a notary public or witnesses present. The state of Indiana has rules for who can and can’t witness your power of attorney. For example, your witness can’t be a named attorney in fact or successor to the attorney in fact and can’t benefit (or have their spouse or children benefit) under the power of attorney. Because there are so many rules for who can’t witness your power of attorney, it is better to have a notary public attest to your signature.

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

You may have a witness or a notary attest to your signature. However, there are many restrictions on who can serve as a witness, so you should sign your power of attorney in the presence of a notary.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your Indiana power of attorney, provide copies to your attorney in fact, financial institutions, and any third party who may need to recognize the authority of your attorney in fact. You should also securely store the original document and inform trusted family members or advisors where they can find it. Review your POA periodically to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes and remains compliant with any changes in the law. A financial institution or third party may ask your attorney in fact to complete an agent certification form in which they attest the POA is effective, and they have the authority to act in your place.

Does an Attorney in Fact Get Paid in Indiana?

Indiana law allows for the reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred by the attorney in fact while performing duties under your POA. Additionally, your attorney in fact may receive compensation for their services if you provide for it in your POA. The compensation must be reasonable and commensurate with the services performed.

Is My Indiana Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, a valid power of attorney created and executed according to Indiana’s legal requirements will be honored in another state.

Can I Revoke My Indiana Power of Attorney?

Yes, you can revoke it at any time as long as you are mentally competent. To revoke your POA, you should provide written notice of the revocation to your attorney in fact and any institutions or parties that were relying on the document and destroy all copies of the revoked POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Indiana?

A power of attorney is helpful when you are incapacitated and can’t handle your financial matters, and it avoids a petition for conservatorship. Another critical document is an advance directive.

An advance directive in Indiana combines a health care power of attorney and a living will. It allows you to name someone you trust to obtain your healthcare records, talk to medical providers, and make medical decisions for you when you can’t. You can also leave instructions on what life-prolonging measures you want if you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

Because your power of attorney ends at your death, you will need someone to manage your estate.

last will and testament lets you name a personal representative or executor to handle your estate, beneficiaries of your property, and guardians for your minor children. A will streamlines probate, so your loved ones don’t spend a lot of time and money in court.

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

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