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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Louisiana FAQ

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

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A power of attorney lets you put someone else in charge of your financial affairs when you cannot handle them on your own. Learn about Louisiana power of attorney documents and how to create one according to Louisiana’s state laws.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

In Louisiana, a power of attorney is a legal contract called a “mandate,” where a person, called the “principal,” grants someone they trust, called the “mandatory” or “agent,” the authority to perform certain actions on their behalf. Louisiana uses the term “mandatory,” but most states refer to it as an “agent” or attorney in fact.”

There are different types of powers of attorney for different purposes. A financial power of attorney is a legal document that lets you name someone to handle your legal and financial affairs when you can’t due to a disability or incapacity. A health care directive is like a health care power of attorney; it lets you name someone to handle your health care decisions and follow your instructions regarding your treatment and care.

Without an agent, your family may have to petition a court for conservatorship. A court will appoint someone as your guardian (called a “curator”) with the legal authority to manage your affairs. By having an agent under a power of attorney, you save your loved ones time and money in court.

Who Can Be My Agent?

An agent can be anyone over 18 and mentally competent. Note that your agent cannot serve as a witness to your power of attorney or notary public attesting to your signature.

You can choose anyone you want to serve as your agent, such as a family member, friend, attorney, or accountant. When choosing your agent, you want someone you trust but also who is responsible and organized. Your agent has a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and in your best interest.

Avoid naming co-agents in your power of attorney because it will complicate matters. If your agents must act together, they may disagree, and nothing will get done. If your agents can act independently, they may contradict each other’s actions. It is better to name a primary agent and a backup or successor agent if your primary agent is unable to serve.

What Can My Agent Do in Louisiana?

Under Article 2994 of the Louisiana Statutes, “the principal may confer on the mandatary general authority to do whatever is appropriate under the circumstances.” That is very broad, so you may want to limit your agent’s authority to specific subjects, such as the following:

  • 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

Under Article 2997 of the Louisiana Statutes, there is specific authority that the principal must expressly give, such as the power to:

  • Make a living trust donation, either outright or to a new or existing trust or other custodial arrangement.
  • Accept or renounce a succession (property transfer).
  • Contract a loan, acknowledge or make remission of a debt, or become a surety.
  • Draw or endorse promissory notes and negotiable instruments.
  • Enter into a compromise or refer a matter to arbitration.
  • Make health care decisions, such as surgery, medical expenses, nursing home residency, and medication.
  • Prevent or limit reasonable communication, visitation, or interaction between the principal and a relative by blood, adoption, or affinity within the third degree or another individual who has a relationship based on or productive of strong affection.

Some of these financial matters are broad, and your agent may be able to reduce your estate. You may want your agent to have this ability to qualify you for government benefits like Medicaid or to minimize your estate taxes. Think carefully about what authority you want to give your agent.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Louisiana?

A durable power of attorney in Louisiana remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. A power of attorney is considered durable unless it explicitly states that it terminates upon the principal’s incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

A Louisiana power of attorney is effective immediately upon signing by the principal. However, you can make it a “springing” POA” (called a “conditional procuration” in Louisiana) when the POA becomes effective upon the principal’s disability.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

There are certain events when your power of attorney ends and when your agent’s authority terminates. Your power of attorney ends when:

  • You die.
  • You become incapacitated, and your POA is non-durable.
  • You revoke your power of attorney.
  • Your power of attorney provides a termination date or event.
  • The purpose of your power of attorney is accomplished.

Under Art. 3024, the agent’s authority terminates upon:

  • Death of the principal or agent.
  • Incapacity of the agent.
  • Appointment of a legal guardian for the principal.

It is a good idea to name backup or successor agents in your power of attorney in case your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve.

Does Louisiana Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. In fact, the state of Louisiana does not have a power of attorney form, nor does it require your power of attorney to be in any form. To make a Louisiana power of attorney you can create your own according to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Louisiana?

Yes. If you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you can create your own power of attorney. If you know who you want to be your agent and what powers you want to give them, you can make a power of attorney yourself. Use forms conforming to Louisiana law and follow the state requirements for execution. Many people looking for DIY options use state-specific online estate planning forms and customize them for their situation. If you have questions about power of attorney documents, you should consult a local estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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

To make your power of attorney valid in Louisiana, you must sign your document in front of two witnesses and a notary public. Your witnesses must be competent and 18 or older. Your agent cannot serve as a witness.

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

Yes. For a valid power of attorney in Louisiana, a notary public must attest your signature. The notary must be qualified in the state and parish where you sign your document.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

Once you sign your power of attorney in the presence of a notary and two witnesses, keep your original in a secure location. Provide copies to your agent, successor agents, and any third parties whom you want to have notice of your power of attorney. A bank or financial institution may ask your agent to complete an agent certification form in which your agent certifies that your power of attorney is effective and they can act on your behalf.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, your agent may be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses when acting under your power of attorney. However, they may only receive reasonable compensation for their time if you authorize it in your power of attorney.

Is My Louisiana Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, another state will recognize a power of attorney created and executed in Louisiana according to its laws.

Can I Revoke My Louisiana Power of Attorney?

Yes. You may revoke your power of attorney at any time as long as you are competent. When you revoke, make a written statement regarding your “Revocation of Power of Attorney” and give a copy to your agent(s) and any other relevant parties who received your original POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Louisiana?

A financial power of attorney is critical when you can’t make financial decisions and avoids the need for a conservatorship. There are other estate planning documents, such as a health care directive and a last will and testament, to make your estate plan complete.

health care directive combines a healthcare power of attorney for health care with a living will. This may also be called an advance directive. In your directive, you can make a declaration regarding the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures if you have a terminal and irreversible condition. You can also designate an agent to make medical decisions for you if you cannot speak or make them yourself.

last will and testament (or “notarial testament” in Louisiana) allows you to name someone to manage your estate, called a “personal representative” (or “succession representative” in Louisiana). You can also name beneficiaries of your property and choose the guardian for your minor children. When you have a will, your estate moves quickly in probate (called a “succession proceeding” in Louisiana) because you made these decisions.

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

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