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A power of attorney, or POA, in Indiana is a legal document that allows you (“the principal”) to appoint another person (an “agent” or “attorney in fact”) to act on your behalf. A power of attorney in Indiana must meet several requirements to be valid.
In Indiana, you can get a power of attorney for situations related to health care, finances, minor children or other situations.
Indiana power of attorney requirements
A power of attorney in Indiana must meet all of these requirements to be valid:
The principal must be a mentally competent adult.
The agent must be a mentally competent adult. You can name co-agents (this can be a good way to designate a successor agent in case the first agent becomes unavailable).
The POA typically must be in writing and notarized — or signed with two witnesses present. (For a medical POA, only one witness is legally required, and a minor child POA has no legal requirement but notarization is recommended.) Using a notary can be a good idea even if you have witnesses; it improves your chances that third parties will accept the power of attorney.
Your witnesses can’t be your agent, successor agent, or anyone who benefits or is granted power from your POA; they also can’t be spouses or descendants of any of these disqualified people.
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Types of Indiana powers of attorney
There are three major types of Indiana power of attorney:
Financial POA: This document gives your agent authority to handle business and financial matters for you, such as paying your bills or buying and selling property for you.
Medical POA: This document allows your agent to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable, including deciding the treatments or medication you receive and which providers treat you.
Power of attorney over a minor child: This POA lets you choose someone to temporarily care for a minor child for up to 12 months. Some reasons for this type of POA include a parent being ill, deployed in military service or in the process of moving.
Additionally, Indiana recognizes these subcategories of powers of attorney:
General power of attorney: This grants your agent broad authority over your business and financial affairs, and it remains in effect only as long as you’re able to make your own decisions.
Durable power of attorney: This means the power of attorney remains valid even if you lose the ability to make your own decisions.
Springing power of attorney: This type of POA only activates under certain specified conditions, such as a minor coming of age or the principal becoming incapacitated.
Limited power of attorney: This type of POA only gives your agent authority over a specific transaction or event for a limited period of time.
Real estate power of attorney: This type of limited POA allows your agent to purchase, sell, manage or refinance property on your behalf.
Tax power of attorney: This type of limited POA lets someone else file your taxes, access your tax information and communicate on your behalf with the Indiana Department of Revenue.
Vehicle power of attorney: This type of limited POA lets your agent represent you in titling and registration matters with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
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How to get a power of attorney in Indiana
Here’s what you need to do to create a valid power of attorney in Indiana:
Select your agent(s).
Include in your POA document any specific powers you’d like your agent to have.
Sign your POA in the presence of required witnesses and/or notary public.
Store your original document in a safe place.
Give a copy of your POA to your agent and to any financial institutions or medical providers your agent will be dealing with.
If your agent has the authority to complete real estate transactions for you, file a copy of your POA with the land records office, which in Indiana is called the recorder’s office.
Review and update your POA as needed.