What is a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Power of attorney gives another person the legal ability to act on the principal party's behalf in certain circumstances for a given amount of time. Usually, power of attorney is a backup plan in case of injury, incapacitation, or the inability to handle matters due to absence. Statutory power of attorney is a special format that follows the wording or intention of the state or applicable regional statute on power of attorney.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Handing over power of estate, medical decisions, and financial management to another person may be a dicey concept, even with a trusted friend or relative. Most states and regions have very specific laws or statutes that cover how power of attorney may be legally used. In order to assure that a power of attorney document is absolutely legal in the state, a statutory power of attorney form may be used. By copying statute language exactly, it can help ensure that the agreements in the document are both legal and enforceable.

There are different types of power of attorney, and most can be created using statuary power of attorney forms. A non-durable statutory power of attorney is used to allow a representative to act on the behalf of the principle in a specific or single-instance issue, such as the sale of a house or farm. A durable statutory power of attorney gives the representative power over a wide range of decisions in the event of the principle's incapacitation.

States and regions that offer statutory power of attorney contracts will generally provide updated forms if any laws or statutes are amended. Be certain to check with a lawyer or legal counselor familiar with statutory laws to ensure that the form being used is current and reflects any recent changes to the law. It is also important to remember that statutory power of attorney forms may be different in different areas, since they abide by the particular laws of the state. If the powers granted involve multi-state or international interests, it may be better to have a legal team draw up a customized form that considers all issues.

If a state or region offers statutory power of attorney forms, the forms can usually be found at a legal stationers or even office supply stores. Additionally, any attorneys involved in the contract will usually have available copies. In some areas, courts will accept contracts as statutory that do not copy language exactly but do contain all of the same basic elements as applicable statutes.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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