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All You Need to Know About Power of Attorney Colorado

What You Need to Know About Power of Attorney in Colorado

Life is unpredictable, and you may not always be able to control everything. If you face a legal obstacle or get incapacitated, you will need someone to handle your affairs. This is where a power of attorney (POA) comes into play.

Without a power of attorney, your most important life decisions, including medical and financial affairs, would be made by strangers or court judges. It is a powerful tool that allows you to delegate authority to a trusted person without compromising your wishes or desires.

Keep reading to learn everything you need on power of attorney in Colorado, how you can create it, and how it can affect your estate planning.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

According to the Colorado Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOA), a power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to act on your behalf in specified events. You can assign your rights and duties to someone you trust with a power of attorney.

The person who creates a power of attorney is called the principal, and whoever receives it is the agent, also known as attorney-in-fact.

People use POAs to avoid court intervention, fulfill their wishes, and protect their assets and interests.

 

How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

Establishing a POA in Colorado is not as complex as you might think. Here are some steps an attorney can take to help you make the process safer, quicker, and more convenient:

1. Choose an Agent

The agent is the person who will act on your behalf. Choose someone trustworthy, reliable, and capable of handling the assigned duties, such as a close family member, friend, or attorney.

2. Select the Powers to Grant 

Your POA should state clearly what your agent can and can’t do for you. Depending on your needs and the POA’s purpose, you can grant your agent the right to manage your finances, make medical decisions, or run your entire estate.

3. Sign the Document

Signing the power of attorney form makes it official. You must sign the document before a notary public or a person authorized by the state to take acknowledgments. You can also sign the document in the presence of two witnesses unrelated to you or your agent.

4. Provide Copies of the Document

Make sure to give copies of the POA to your agents and other relevant parties, such as your family or lawyers. Keeping a copy for yourself and your records is also a good idea.

5. Review the Document Periodically

Your circumstances or needs may change over time, so reviewing and updating your POA regularly, if necessary, is essential.

Types of Power of Attorney in Colorado

There are different Colorado power of attorney types, each with benefits, limitations, specific requirements, and procedures.

Some of the common ones include:

1. Financial Power of Attorney

This type of POA lets you choose someone to handle your money and real property if you can’t.

You can choose different types of financial power of attorney depending on when and how you want your agent attorney to act for you

  • Limited Power of Attorney authorizes your agent to do only certain things, such as access your bank account

  • Durable Power of Attorney stays in effect even if you become incapacitated, meaning you can’t make decisions for yourself

  • Springing Power of Attorney takes effect if you become incapacitated, as determined by a doctor or a court

As of 2010, all power of attorney forms are durable by default.

2. Real Estate Power of Attorney

This POA type grants real estate planning power to your agent. It allows them to buy, sell, manage, or transfer property on your behalf. Your agent can handle all aspects of your real estate transactions and dealings, such as negotiating contracts, signing documents, paying taxes, or transferring titles.

3. Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney grants healthcare powers to your agent. It allows them to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. It means that your agent can consent to or refuse treatments on your behalf.

4. Tax Power of Attorney

This type grants tax powers to your agent that allow them to file and handle tax matters on your behalf. Your agent can prepare and submit your tax returns or represent you before the IRS.

Is It Possible to Modify a Power of Attorney in Colorado?

If you change your mind regarding your POA’s content or agent, you have the right to modify it using any of these methods:

1. Generating a new one

Creating a new POA is a simple and effective way to revoke the older one. Ensure that your new POA states the revocation of the previous document.

2. Cancel or repeal

You can execute a revocation form or destroy the POA in Colorado law. Notify your successor agent, financial institutions, and other relevant parties about the revocation.

 

Benefits of Creating a Power of Attorney

 

A power of attorney is a valuable estate planning tool. Along with other instruments, a POA will ensure your wishes are fulfilled and assets protected in your absence or incapacity. A power of attorney can help you and your loved ones:

  • Avoid probate and conservatorship proceedings: If you become incapacitated and unable to manage your estate, the probate court may put it under a conservatorship, which can be expensive and time-consuming. You can avoid this by creating a durable POA.

  • Ensuring that your assets and affairs get managed per your wishes. You can specify your agent’s authority and how they should handle your assets after death. For example, you can give your agent designated power to make financial decisions. You can also direct your agent to transfer specific assets to a trust, another individual, or a charity upon your death.

  • Protecting vulnerable seniors from financial abuse: According to the National Council on Aging, about one in ten Americans aged 60 and older experiences different forms of elder abuse. A POA protects against such exploitation by ensuring your agent acts in your best interests.

  • Facilitating smooth estate planning and administration: Assigning a power of attorney can make it easier for loved ones to manage your assets, pay your bills, and perform other necessary tasks in the event of incapacity or death. This can help reduce stress and confusion during an already difficult time.

Do I Need an Attorney to Create a Power of Attorney Document?

Consulting an attorney in some cases may be advisable. That’s because you may not be aware of the legal implications of your decisions.

An attorney can help you create a power of attorney document that suits your needs and goals. In addition, they can make sure your POA is valid and enforceable under Colorado state law.

Some situations where you may want to consult an attorney are:

  • Large or complicated estates, financial accounts, or beneficiaries that require legal advice

  • You anticipate that someone such as family or other third parties may question your mental capacity.

 

Contact Duncan Legal LLC

 

When you need to make a big decision for your family, you want someone who understands your situation. Someone with the experience and the compassion to guide you through the legal process.

That’s why you need Duncan Legal, LLC, an estate planning attorney in Centennial.

For over 25 years, we have helped families like yours with their most important and personal issues. Whether choosing a power of attorney, planning your estate, or dealing with any legal challenge, we are here to help.

FAQ

What Is a General Power of Attorney in Colorado?

A general POA is a legal document allowing you to appoint an agent to manage your finances and make financial decisions. An available POA expires if the principal becomes incapacitated. In contrast, a durable POA remains effective after the principal becomes incapacitated.

What Powers Does an Agent Have Under a Colorado Power of Attorney?

An agent can be granted numerous powers under a power of attorney, including financial, real estate, medical, and tax powers. The extent of these powers depends on what is specified in the document. It is essential to clearly define and limit the agent’s powers to avoid any potential abuse.

Can I Revoke a Power of Attorney in Colorado?

You can revoke a POA by generating a new one or executing a revocation form. Notifying all relevant parties, such as your financial institutions and successor agent, is crucial for the revocation. It is also recommended to consult an attorney to ensure the cancellation is legally valid.

What Happens If I Do Not Have a Power of Attorney in Colorado?

If you do not have a power of attorney and become incapacitated, a court may appoint a guardian or conservator to manage your affairs. This process can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, the appointed guardian or conservator may not make decisions that align with your wishes.

Flat-fee options are available for wills, trusts and probate:

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