Limited (Special) Power of Attorney Forms

A Limited (Special) Power of Attorney form is a legally binding contract that allows a person to assign short-term decision-making powers to another person they trust. The person granting powers is known as the “Principal”, whereas the person receiving them is known as the “Agent” or “Attorney-in-Fact”. Unlike general and durable POA-types, a limited POA only authorizes the Agent to represent the Principal in what is specified with the form. Once the Agent finishes their duties, the Principal will typically terminate the agreement through the use of a POA revocation.



Limited Power of Attorneys by State

What is a Limited Power of Attorney?

A limited power of attorney allows a person (the “Principal”) to assign highly-specific tasks to a person they trust (the “Agent”). The form can be used to assign a person the power to:

  • Sign a deed
  • File taxes
  • Manage property
  • Pay bills
  • Apply for programs

How to Get a Limited Power of Attorney?

Step 1 – Select your Agent

The Principal’s Agent, also known as their “Attorney-in-Fact”, is the person that will be carrying on the task(s) as written on the limited POA. This can be anyone trusted by the Principal, including a family member, close friend, or a professional such as a lawyer. The Agent the Principal chooses will need to be consulted-with to ensure they are willing and capable of performing the task(s) requested of them.

Step 2 – Fill out the Limited Power of Attorney Form

Following the selection of the Agent, the Principal will need to download and fill-out the contract. Describe the power(s) the Agent has on each line on the first (1st) page. This should be detailed enough to ensure the Agent’s powers are not too broad. On the other hand, being too descriptive can result in the Agent not having enough lee-way to fully complete their task.

Step 3 – Sign + Notarize

Each state has their own POA signing requirements. Some states require notarization and/or the presence of witnesses, while other states do not have any mandatory requirements. Regardless of each state’s laws, so long they record their signature in the presence of two (2) witnesses and a Notary Public, their POA will be universally accepted.

Step 4 – Distribute the POA + Monitor

The Principal will need to deliver the POA to their Agent and any other entities who are involved. Once the Agent has the signed POA, they will have permission to complete the task(s) as written on the contract. Once all duties have been completed, the POA will automatically be revoked.


How to Revoke a Limited Power of Attorney

The primary way a Limited Power of Attorney can be revoked is by the Principal signing a revocation of POA. This form makes a legally-binding record of the Principal’s intent to revoke the POA. Depending on the state in which the Principal is located, they may need to have the document signed in the presence of witnesses and/or a Notary Public.

While not recommended, some states give the option of destroying it by tearing it up or burning it. If this route is taken, all copies of the document will need to be destroyed. The reason this is not recommended is that it is substantially harder to prove the revocation ever took place, which would pose a problem in the event a dispute occurs regarding the POA.


Limited Power of Attorney FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions regarding limited power of attorneys:

How long is a limited POA good for?

A limited POA will typically terminate if:

1. The Principal Revokes the POA

At any time, the Principal can terminate the POA by completing, notarizing, and delivering a revocation of POA to all parties.

2. The Agent Completes the Task(s)

Because a limited POA is designed for having short-term tasks completed, the Principal will commonly make it automatically end once all requests are done. This helps to prevent the Agent from overstepping their authority in areas the Principal didn’t grant powers over.

3. The POA Has an Expiration Clause

An expiration clause causes the POA to automatically terminate after a certain event or date occurs. For example, the Principal can have the POA to automatically end after the Agent completes their tasks. Alternatively, they can make the POA terminate on a certain date (such as a year from the signing date).

4. The Principal Becomes Incapacitated or Dies

The majority of limited POAs are not durable, meaning they are automatically revoked in the event the Principal becomes incapacitated or dies. To issue a POA that does not terminate in the event the Principal can no longer make their own decisions, a durable POA should be used.

5. The Agent Becomes Incapacitated or Dies

Unless a successor Agent has been named in the contract and they are willing to take on the original Agent’s role, it will terminate.

Does a limited POA have to be notarized?

Only certain states impose mandatory requirements for a Limited Power of Attorney to be notarized. However, it is highly recommended that the Principal have the POA notarized regardless of state laws to ensure the form is accepted by financial institutions and other parties.

Where can I get a limited POA?

An official limited power of attorney can be obtained through:

  • OpenDocs – we provide a unique limited POA for each state (above).
  • eForms – this website offers attorney-approved legal forms for each state
  • Banks – financial institutions often provide legal forms for their customers.
  • Attorneys – attorneys will draft a form for a fee. Because limited POAs are one of the simpler POA forms to use, this is often a needlessly expensive option.