Massachusetts Power of Attorney Forms
The Massachusetts Power of Attorney Forms bestow the legal right for a party (referred to as the “Agent”), who is appointed by an individual referred to as the “Principal”, to take charge of the principal’s affairs that have been outlined by the contract, including (but not limited to), topics relating to finances, medical wishes, personal property, taxes, motor vehicles, and minor children. Although containing similarities to a will, a POA carries one fundamental difference—it can only be enforced by the agent if the principal is still alive, whereas a will can only be enforced after the executor of the will’s death.
Durable Power of Attorney – This type of POA remains in effect regardless of the principal’s mental and physical capacity at a future date.
General (Financial) Power of Attorney – A non-durable type of POA that will only be active so long as the Principal is fully capable, as per relevant laws, to communicate responsible decisions.
Health Care Proxy (Medical Power of Attorney) – Used for assigning an agent with the power to make healthcare decisions. Recording end-of-life choices in a Health Care Proxy will help to prevent disputes between the principal’s loved ones about what they truly want from their end-of-life care.
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney – A type of POA that reduces the scope of an agent’s powers to the limited circumstances specified in the document. Typically for situations that are one-time or for the short-term.
Minor Child Power of Attorney – An individual nominated by a guardian or parent can assume the care of a child in the particular circumstances set out in this form.
Motor Vehicle (RMV) Power of Attorney – A type of limited POA filed with the DMV that allows for another party to take charge of matters connected to the principal’s motor vehicle.
Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney – Potential or actual homeowners may assign another party to help to manage their real estate affairs using this form.
Revocation of Power of Attorney – A document that legally represents the principal’s decision to withdraw a power of attorney arrangement.
State Tax Filing Power of Attorney (Form M-2848) – Filed with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, this document makes it possible for a principal to elect another individual or entity to represent them before the Department for one or more tax matters.
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What is a Massachusetts Power of Attorney?
A Massachusetts Power of Attorney addresses all of the legal requirements necessary for an agent to act on a principal’s behalf to take care of their affairs. The matters in which the agent may do so can include (but not limited to) guardianship of the principal’s children, management of their real estate, and their end-of-life care. Given the substantial powers an agent is granted, it is crucial that the POA form is precise in its wording, or else the agent may be left to assume the meanings contained within.
- Massachusetts Power of Attorney Laws – (Chapter 190B, “Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code”)
- Signing Requirements
- General/Durable POA: State law is silent on the matter of signing requirements for the execution of a General or Durable POA. That being said, it is advisable that the document is at least signed by the principal in the presence of a licensed Notary Public.
- Health Care Proxy/Medical POA (Chapter 201D, Section 2) – Signed by the principal and two (2) witnesses.
When is it Effective?
In Massachusetts, the requirements for a POA to come into effect are dependent on the type of form in use.
Not specified: State law does not specify any signing requirements for general, durable, limited, real estate, and motor vehicle POAs. Additionally, no requirements for POA revocations are stated in MA law. Although no state-mandated signing requirements exist for these POA forms, it is highly recommended that, in addition to the principal’s signature, the POA is signed by a Notary Public and two (2) adult witnesses.
Health Care Proxy: According to Chapter 201D, Section 2, in order to be put into effect, the form must be signed by the principal in the presence of two (2) other adults.
Minor Child Power of Attorney: According to Chapter 201D, Section 5-202, the document must be signed by the principal (parent or guardian) and attested by at least two (2) witnesses.
Tax Power of Attorney: According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Massachusetts Tax POA must be signed by the taxpayer and the named Attorney-in-Fact. If power is granted to a party who is not an attorney, certified public accountant, public accountant, or enrolled agent, it is necessary for the taxpayer’s signature to be witnessed and signed by two (2) witnesses and a Notary Public.