A Delaware power of attorney is a legal document that enables a person, known as the "principal," to give written authorization to another individual, known as an "agent," to act on their behalf.
The agent may act on behalf of the principal in various matters, including medical, financial, property, and other affairs.
Selecting a trusted individual to serve as an agent and ensuring that all formalities are followed when creating the power of attorney, such as obtaining agent certification, notarization, and witness signatures, is important. It can provide peace of mind that the principal's affairs will be managed properly and in accordance with their wishes.
Types of Power of Attorney in Delaware
Delaware Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney Requirements
This type of power of attorney remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions for themselves. (§ 49A-104)
To be considered durable in Delaware, a power of attorney must contain specific language that indicates the principal's intention for the authority granted to the agent to continue, even in the event of the principal's incapacity.
Delaware General (Financial) Power of Attorney Requirements
A Delaware general power of attorney grants the agent the authority to handle the principal's financial matters, including managing bank accounts, paying bills, and making financial decisions.
Delaware Limited (Special) Power of Attorney Requirements
A limited power of attorney restricts the agent to only act on the specific tasks or responsibilities outlined in the document, giving the principal greater control over their affairs.
Delaware Parental (Minors) Power of Attorney Requirements
Once the parental power of attorney is signed by the parent, the agent will have temporary legal authority to make decisions regarding the child's daily care and well-being, including decisions related to education, medical care, and other important matters.
Delaware Medical Power of Attorney Requirements
This is a specific type of power of attorney in which the principal authorizes the agent to make decisions about their medical treatment in the event of their incapacity or inability to make those decisions on their own.
Delaware Springing Power of Attorney Requirements
This type of power of attorney in Delaware only becomes effective at a specific point in time, such as when the principal becomes incapacitated or when a future event occurs.
Delaware Vehicle Power of Attorney Requirements
The vehicle power of attorney grants the agent the legal authority to sign documents related to the principal's vehicle, such as title transfers, registration, and other related paperwork. This can include the authority to negotiate the sale of the vehicle and to receive payment for the sale.
Delaware Revocation of Power of Attorney Requirements
Principals can revoke or cancel a previously executed power of attorney. To do so, they must execute a revocation of power of attorney form, which should include the date of the original power of attorney and the name of the agent.
Delaware Tax Power of Attorney Requirements
The Delaware tax power of attorney allows the principal to appoint a certified public accountant, family member, or another agent to access the principal's tax information and make decisions related to the principal's tax affairs. Some of these obligations include filing tax returns, making tax payments, and communicating with the Division of Revenue.
Delaware Real Estate Power of Attorney Requirements
By using this type of document, the principal grants the agent the power to buy, sell, lease, mortgage, manage, or transfer the principal's real property.
Legal Requirements for a Power of Attorney in Delaware
When drafting a power of attorney in Delaware, make sure it meets the following requirements:
Mental capacity. The principal must have the capacity and be of sound mind, meaning that they are aware of the nature and effect of authorizing the agent to represent their interests.
Form and notarization. A Delaware power of attorney must be in writing, signed by the principal or by someone at the principal's direction, dated, signed in the presence of a notary public, and signed in the presence of one adult witness. (§ 49A-105)
Who Can Be an Agent for a Power of Attorney in Delaware?
In Delaware, anyone who is 18 or older and of sound mind can be appointed as an agent for a power of attorney. The agent should be someone who can be trusted to act in the best interests of the principal and make decisions according to their wishes.
It is also important to choose someone who is willing to take on the responsibility of being an agent, as it can involve significant duties and obligations.
How to Create a Delaware Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney in Delaware
#1. Decide on Which Type of Document to Use
There are different types of power of attorney documents, such as general, limited, durable, springing, and other forms of power of attorney. You should decide which type of document is suitable for your situation.
#2. Select an Agent
Choose someone you trust to act as your agent or attorney-in-fact. This person will make decisions on your behalf, so it's important to choose someone who is responsible, reliable, and able to handle your affairs.
#3. Define the Agent’s Powers
You need to clearly define the agent's powers in the document. You can give them specific powers, such as the authority to manage your finances or make healthcare decisions, or you can give them broad powers to handle all your affairs.
#4. Download & Fill in Our Form
You can find free power of attorney forms on our website. Once you have a form, fill in the necessary information, such as your name, agent's name, and the powers you want to grant.
#5. Get It Signed & Notarized
You must sign the document in the presence of one adult witness and a notary public.
#6. Safely Store the Original Copy
Keep the original copy of the power of attorney document in a safe and secure location where you can easily access it.
#7. Provide Copies to Relevant Parties
Give copies of the document to your agent and other parties who may need them, such as healthcare providers or financial institutions.
#8. Update the Document as Needed
Keep the document updated as your circumstances change or if you want to change your agent or the powers you grant them. It's important to have an up-to-date document to ensure that your wishes are followed.
How Long Does a Power of Attorney Last in Delaware?
In Delaware, a power of attorney becomes effective when it is executed, unless the principal provides otherwise in the document.
If provided otherwise, a power of attorney becomes effective upon the occurrence of a future event, and the principal may authorize one or more people to determine in writing or other records that the event has occurred.
A power of attorney terminates upon the death of the principal or agent, revocation or resignation, the accomplishment of its purpose, or other circumstances listed in the document. (§ 49A-109, 110.)
Delaware Power of Attorney FAQ
You use a power of attorney when you want someone else to act on your behalf due to your absence, incapacity, or when you simply want them to handle your affairs.
A power of attorney grants legal authority to the appointed person to make decisions in matters that you have chosen, such as medical or financial decisions.
Yes, in Delaware, a power of attorney needs to be notarized and witnessed to be valid.
Even if you have a power of attorney, you still need a will because a power of attorney terminates upon your death. A will ensures that your property is managed according to your wishes.