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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Kentucky FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Madison Hess, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 15, 2024

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A power of attorney lets you name someone you trust to handle your financial matters when you can’t. Find out more about power of attorney documents in Kentucky and how to make one following Kentucky state law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants one person, known as the agent, the authority to act on behalf of another person, the principal, in legal and financial matters. In Kentucky’s Power of Attorney Act, KRS §457.010 to §457.260 governs powers of attorney documents.

There are various types of power of attorney documents. A financial power of attorney is for when you can’t make financial or legal decisions due to an incapacity, disability, or being unavailable due to travel. You may want a health care directive and living will for someone to act as your agent to make medical decisions when you can’t and follow your wishes for end-of-life care.

Naming an agent to be in charge lets you decide who you want to manage your property and assets. If you can’t manage your financial affairs and do not have a power of attorney, your loved ones will have to file an action for conservatorship. A court then names someone as your conservator with the legal authority to manage your life. The conservator may not be someone you like.

Who Can Be My Agent?

You can choose anyone you want to serve as your agent, such as a family member, friend, accountant, or attorney. An agent must be mentally competent and 18 or older to serve. When selecting an agent for your power of attorney, look for someone who is organized, responsible, and highly trustworthy. Your agent has a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and in your best interest, but they have broad discretion over your assets and property.

While you may want to name two agents to act as co-agents, it can cause difficult situations. If you require your agents to act jointly, they may disagree, and nothing gets done. If you allow your agents to act independently, they may reverse each other’s actions. It is better to name your first choice of agent with another agent to serve as a backup or successor agent if your first choice is unavailable.

What Can My Agent Do in Kentucky?

In your financial power of attorney, you grant powers to your agent on certain subject matters. You may want them to buy and sell real estate, access bank accounts, and file your taxes. For example, you may grant your agent general authority to handle transactions involving the following:

  • Real Property
  • 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 specific powers that you must expressly give your agent, such as the following:

  • Create, amend, revoke, or terminate an inter vivos trust
  • Make a gift, subject to the limitations of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act in KRS 457.400 and any special instructions in this power of attorney
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Authorize another person to exercise the authority granted 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
  • Access the content of electronic communications

Some of these specific powers allow your agent to reduce your estate. You may want them to have this ability to reduce your estate to minimize estate taxes or to qualify you for government benefits such as Medicaid. Think carefully about what you want your agent to have the power to do and talk with them about how you want them to handle your property and assets.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Kentucky?

durable power of attorney in Kentucky means it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. Unless you state otherwise in your document that it is terminated by the principal’s incapacity, a power of attorney is durable.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Unless you specify a certain date or event to trigger the power of attorney, a Kentucky POA is effective when executed. A POA that is effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of a future event or contingency is called a “springing” power of attorney.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

Once you make your power of attorney, you can revoke it at any time as long as you are competent. Your power of attorney can terminate, however, if:

  • You die
  • You become incapacitated, and you did not name a backup or successor agent
  • Your agent is unable or unwilling to serve, and you did not name a backup or successor agent
  • Your power of attorney has a termination date or event, and that date or event occurs

If you name your spouse as your agent and later divorce or have your marriage terminated, your spouse’s authority is automatically revoked unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Does Kentucky Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. Under KRS§457.20, Kentucky has a statutory power of attorney form. However, you are not required to use the statutory form as it is very basic. There are other options for a Kentucky POA: create your own document tailored to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney to draft one for you.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Kentucky?

Yes. As long as you are 18 or older and competent, you can make your own power of attorney document. To make a power of attorney, you should know who you want to serve as your agent and what powers you want to grant. People looking for self-serve options use online estate planning forms. Make sure the power of attorney form you use conforms to Kentucky law and follows the state execution requirements. If you have questions about making a power of attorney, you should contact an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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

Under Kentucky §457.050, you sign your power of attorney or direct someone to sign for you in your presence. A notary public must also attest to your signature.

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

Yes. You must sign your power of attorney in the presence of a notary public to make your document valid in Kentucky.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After you sign your power of attorney before a notary, keep the original in a secure place. Give copies to your agent, backup agents, and any other relevant party. Banks and other financial institutions may ask your agent to complete an agent certification form in which they certify your power of attorney in effect, and they have the authority to act as your agent.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Kentucky?

Your agent may be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by acting under your power of attorney. They may also receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you state otherwise in your document.

Is My Kentucky Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Other states will recognize a Kentucky power of attorney created and executed according to Kentucky’s legal requirements.

Can I Revoke My Kentucky Power of Attorney?

Yes, you have the right to revoke your power of attorney at any time, as long as you are competent. To revoke your POA, provide a written notice of revocation to your agent and to any relevant parties that were relying on your original POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Kentucky?

A financial power of attorney is a critical document when you suddenly can’t handle your affairs due to an incapacity, and it avoids the need for a conservatorship. You should consider other estate planning documents that protect you and your family, such as a health care directive and a last will and testament.

A health care directive combines a healthcare power of attorney and a living will (also called an advance directive). You can name someone as your health care agent to talk to health care providers, obtain your medical records, and make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot. In the directive, you can also give instructions and 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 is a document used after your death. In your will, you leave instructions on who should administer your estate, who should inherit your property, and who should care for your young children. Dying without a will, or “intestate,” causes delays in probate court because a court must follow state laws to determine who inherits, and they decide who should handle your estate and who should care for your children. You will have peace of mind, knowing you made these decisions for your family and not leaving it up to a court.

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

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