A power of attorney is a legal document that allows one person (the principal) to appoint another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on their behalf in various matters.
The purpose of this document is to provide a way for someone to make decisions on the principal's behalf in case the principal becomes unable to do so due to illness, injury, or other circumstances.
For example, a power of attorney can be used to allow an agent to manage the principal's finances, make healthcare decisions, or sign legal documents on the principal's behalf.
Types of Power of Attorney in West Virginia
West Virginia Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney Requirements
A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make their own decisions.
This document can be especially useful for those who are aging or have health issues that may affect their ability to make decisions in the future. (§ 39B-1-104)
West Virginia General (Financial) Power of Attorney Requirements
A general (financial) power of attorney grants someone else the authority to act on behalf of the principal in a broad range of financial matters.
With this type of power of attorney, the agent is authorized to perform a wide variety of financial transactions on behalf of the principal, such as filing a tax return, applying for tax benefits, and being in touch with the West Virginia Tax Division.
West Virginia Limited (Special) Power of Attorney Requirements
A limited power of attorney grants the agent authority to act only in certain specific matters or transactions, as specified in the document. It is limited in scope, which means it does not grant broad authority to the agent.
West Virginia Parental (Minors) Power of Attorney Requirements
A parental power of attorney allows a parent or legal guardian to temporarily delegate their parental rights and responsibilities to another individual. This could be a grandparent, family member, or trusted caregiver.
This document can help ensure that the child is cared for in a manner consistent with the parent's wishes and can provide the caregiver with the authority to make necessary decisions regarding the child's health, education, and welfare.
West Virginia Medical Power of Attorney Requirements
With a medical power of attorney, the agent is appointed to make healthcare decisions on the principal's behalf if they become unable to make such decisions for themselves. The document is also sometimes referred to as a healthcare power of attorney or health care proxy. (§ 16-30-4)
West Virginia Springing Power of Attorney Requirements
A West Virginia springing power of attorney only becomes effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of a certain event. To create it, the principal must specify the event or condition upon which the power of attorney becomes effective.
For example, a springing power of attorney may become effective only if a doctor certifies that the principal is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.
West Virginia Vehicle Power of Attorney Requirements
A vehicle power of attorney grants someone else the authority to perform certain actions related to a vehicle on the owner's behalf, e.g.,buying, selling, registering, or transferring ownership of a vehicle.
This can be useful in situations where the owner is unable to perform these actions themselves, such as if they are out of the country or physically unable to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles.
West Virginia Revocation Power of Attorney Requirements
Revocation of power of attorney refers to the legal act of terminating a previously granted power of attorney. This can be done by the principal at any time, as long as they are competent to do so.
West Virginia Tax Power of Attorney Requirements
The West Virginia tax power of attorney authorizes another person to act on the principal's behalf when it comes to tax matters.
This document allows the designated representative to perform specific actions and make decisions related to tax affairs, such as receiving and inspecting confidential tax information, responding to inquiries from the tax authorities, filing tax returns, or making payments.
West Virginia Real Estate Power of Attorney Requirements
By utilizing the West Virginia real estate power of attorney, the agent is granted the right to perform actions, such as sale, purchase, lease, and other activities involved in managing and maintaining the principal's real estate, on behalf of the principal.
Legal Requirements for a Power of Attorney in West Virginia
Capacity. To create a legally valid power of attorney, the principal must be of sound mind and comprehend the purpose and effects of the document they are signing.
Notarization. A power of attorney must be written, signed by the principal, and notarized. (§39B-1-105)
Witnesses and notarization for medical power of attorney. For a medical power of attorney to be valid, it must be in writing and signed in the presence of two or more witnesses who are at least 18 years of age. Their signatures and attestation must also be acknowledged before a notary public. (§16-30-4)
Who Can Be an Agent for a Power of Attorney in West Virginia?
Any individual who is at least 18 years old and has not been declared incapacitated by a court may serve as an agent under a power of attorney in West Virginia.
The agent does not need to have any particular professional or legal qualifications, but the principal should trust them. They should also be willing to act in the principal’s best interest and carry out their wishes as specified in the power of attorney.
How to Create a West Virginia Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney in West Virginia
#1. Decide on Which Type of Document to Use
There are different types of powers of attorney, each with its own purpose and scope of authority. Choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and circumstances.
#2. Select an Agent
When selecting an agent, choose a trustworthy, responsible, and capable person who shares the same values and goals as you and can communicate effectively regarding important decisions and actions taken on your behalf.
#3. Define the Agent’s Powers
Determine and clearly state what powers you want to grant to your agent in the power of attorney. This can include financial, medical, or legal powers, depending on your needs.
#4. Download & Fill in Our Form
Download a power of attorney form from our site and fill it out accurately and completely with all necessary information.
#5. Get it Signed & Notarized
Sign the completed form and have it notarized to make it legally binding.
#6. Safely Store The Original Copy
Retain the original power of attorney in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box, and let trusted individuals know where to find it.
#7. Provide Copies to Relevant Parties
Provide copies of the power of attorney to any relevant parties, such as banks, healthcare providers, or legal professionals, so that they are aware of the agent's authority and can act accordingly.
#8. Update the Document as Needed
It may be wise to periodically review and update your power of attorney, as their circumstances and needs change over time.
How Long Does a Power of Attorney Last in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, a power of attorney takes effect when it's signed unless otherwise specified.
If it's dependent on a future event or the principal's incapacity, the principal may authorize someone to determine when it will take effect. If the principal hasn't authorized anyone, a physician, attorney, judge, or government official can make the determination in writing.
A power of attorney can be terminated in several ways, including:
Reasons for Termination
Death of the principal
Incapacitation of the principal (if the power of attorney is not durable)
Revocation of the power of attorney by the principal
Accomplishment of the purpose for which the power of attorney was granted
Death or incapacitation of the agent
Resignation of the agent (unless there is another agent designated in the power of attorney) (§39B-1-109-110)
West Virginia Power of Attorney FAQ
A power of attorney is used when someone needs to appoint someone else to act on their behalf, especially in situations where they may be unable to do so themselves due to illness, incapacity, or absence.
A power of attorney grants legal authority to an agent to make decisions and take actions on behalf of the person who created the document (the principal). This authority can be limited or broad, depending on the specific terms of the power of attorney.
In West Virginia, a power of attorney needs to be notarized to be legally binding.
Yes, you can still create a will even if you have a power of attorney.
A will is a legal document that outlines a person's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after they pass away. On the other hand, a power of attorney only applies while the person is alive and grants authority to make decisions on their behalf.