Know the Power of Attorney Laws

Every state's laws regarding power of attorneys differ. If you use a template for your power of attorney forms, make sure that form is viewed legally in your state. Some states allow you to create your own, others may require them to be created by a licensed attorney.

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Different Laws by State

In Alabama, a durable power of attorney is only legal if the form contains the wording: “This power of attorney shall not be affected by disability, incompetency or incapacity of the principal.” In addition, a simple verbal cancellation of the power of attorney is considered legal.

Arizona power of attorney laws state the named attorney in fact must be an adult and must not be a blood relative or beneficiary if the principal dies. The power of attorney form must be in writing. Verbal power of attorney agreements are not legal.

Many states, including Colorado and Vermont, have power of attorney laws stating that divorce revokes a durable power of attorney if the agent is the former spouse.

Nebraska power of attorney laws state that the agent on a medical power of attorney cannot refuse the patient's routine care for comfort, feeding tubes, IV fluids or attachment to life support unless the principal specified such in his medical power of attorney. A power of attorney agent in Nebraska is not allowed to consider an attempted suicide as a suggestion that life support be withheld.

In the State of New York, if a hospital refuses to follow the agent's medical orders, they must provide advanced notice whenever possible. The refusing hospital must help find a suitable hospital. They must also help with the patient transfer.

A power of attorney agent in Rhode Island and Utah must be at least 18 years of age. Rhode Island power of attorney law requires the agent be a resident of Rhode Island when the power of attorney comes into effect.

In most states, the attorney in fact cannot be held legally responsible for the decisions they make unless there is proof the decision was made in opposition to the power of attorney terms and conditions.

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