Does a Power of Attorney Need To Be Registered?

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A power of attorney allows you to give another person the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. While not all powers of attorney have to be registered, all have to comply with the laws of your state. You should always talk to a lawyer if you need legal advice about powers of attorney and state registration requirements.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney lets one person, called a principal, grant another person, called the attorney-in-fact or the agent, the right to make decisions and take actions in the place of the principal. The principal can grant whatever powers he desires to the agent, ranging from one-time or temporary powers for a single specified purpose to broad powers that last even if the principal becomes incapacitated.

Creation

When you create a power of attorney, you willingly give your principal the legal authority to act by creating a document that specifies the powers granted. In general, you do not have to file this document with a state government authority, nor do you have to get government approval to create it. You do, however, have to ensure the document complies with state laws governing its creation.

Registration

While as a general rule there is no requirement that you register or file a power of attorney with the state as part of its creation, there are some instances where states require registration. Some states, for example, require that you file or register a power of attorney if you grant your agent the right to buy, sell or transfer real estate or interests in real property on your behalf. Ohio, for example, requires that you record any such power of attorney with the county recorder's office in the county or counties in which the property is located.

Third Parties

Whether you have to register a power of attorney with the state is one thing, while whether a third party will recognize your power of attorney is another. When you use power of attorney to act on the principal's behalf, you typically do so by making decisions or entering agreements with third parties. Some third parties may require proof of the power of attorney before they accept your authority, such as by requiring you to provide a copy of the document and sign an affidavit that the power exists.

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