A Power of Attorney is a legal document that can be filed with the proper court that gives one person, known as the agent, the authority to act on another person’s behalf.  The person giving the authority is known as the principal. The state of Pennsylvania does not provide a specific form or template for drafting a Power of Attorney.  Therefore, it is up to a resident to do so, and make sure that said document contains all required provisions.  If you do not retain the services of an estate planning attorney to draft the document for you, it is always a wise decision to at least have he or she review your draft prior to filing.

A standard Power of Attorney is one that simply gives one person the authority to act in the absence of another, who is not incapacitated. It will automatically end if the principal should become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney serves the exact same purpose as the standard, but will remain in effect if the principal become incapacitated.

A durable power of attorney with springing powers is one which lies dormant until the principal becomes incapacitate. Then, just as suggested in its name, it “springs” into effect. Other types of powers of attorney include healthcare and financial, which an agent can only use for those specific purposes and decisions.

Regardless of its type, in order for a Power of Attorney in the state of Pennsylvania to become valid, it must be dated and contain the signature of the principal and two adult witnesses, and be notarized.  In addition, Pennsylvania law requires a specific notice and acknowledgment provision.