A Pennsylvania durable power of attorney is a written document that allows someone (“the principal”) to appoint someone else to act as their agent.
The agent can make decisions on the principal’s behalf and because the form is “durable,” the power of the agent remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. To grant durable power over medical decisions, you need a medical power of attorney.
Discover what you need to know to create a DPOA in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania Durable Power of Attorney Requirements
In Pennsylvania, power of attorney forms are durable by default.
Relevant Laws: §§ 5601 — 5614 (Powers of Attorney)
Presumed Durable: Yes. § 5601.1
Signing: The signature of the principal and two witnesses are required. § 5601(b)(3)
Notarization: Signatures must be completed in front of and acknowledged by a notary public or other authorized official. §§ 5601(c), 5601(d), 5601.1
Statutory Form: No, just drafting language suggestions. § 5602.
How to Fill Out a Pennsylvania DPOA Form
Follow these steps to easily complete our blank durable power of attorney form for Pennsylvania:
Step 1: Designate an Agent
The agent should be trustworthy, capable, and fully aware of what power of attorney is. Here are the agent’s duties and responsibilities in Pennsylvania:
- keep his or her funds separate from the principal’s
- avoid conflict of interest that might prevent him or her from acting in the principal’s best interest
- cooperate with the person authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of the principal
- preserve the principal’s estate plan as much as possible
- hold on to the receipts, disbursements and transactions
In Pennsylvania, the principal can appoint more than one agent and specify whether they will act together or independently. Nonetheless, the principal should make sure that the co-agents will communicate and make consistent decisions. If the original agent(s) are unavailable, the principal can also name a successor agent.
Once the agent was designated, both parties write their names and addresses at the top of the durable power of attorney form.
Step 2: Grant Authority
You can grant broad or limited powers to your agent. This means that they can act on all financial matters, or you can choose just a few subject areas—or even one, like handling your taxes.
Here are the most common subject areas you can choose from:
- Tangible personal property
- Investments and financial matters
- Insurance and annuities
- Litigation and resolution of claims
- Retirement plans and government benefits
- Tax matters
- Business operations
You can also write specific instructions about which actions the agent can perform on their behalf.
Step 3: Ensure Your Form is Durable
In Pennsylvania, a power of attorney is presumed to be durable unless it’s specified to be non-durable on the form.
Step 4: Sign and Date the Form
The principal must write, date, and sign the DPOA form. If unable to do so, he or she could designate another person to sign on their behalf.
The form should also be notarized and contain the signature of 2 witnesses in the presence of a notary public.
Storing and Using Your Form in Pennsylvania
After completing your durable power of attorney form, you should store it in a safe deposit box or secure place in your home.
In Pennsylvania, you don’t need to file and record a durable power of attorney but you may file it with the clerk of the orphans’ court division of the court of common pleas where the principal resides. If the principal owns real estate property in a county outside of its residence, the POA also needs to be filed with the county court where the real estate is owned.
Once filed, the clerk can issue certified copies of the DPOA form, which are as effective as the original. The same applies to a photocopy or electronically transmitted copy of the original.
Signing on Behalf of the Principal
The agent can sign on behalf of the principal as follows:
by [Agent’s name]
Power of attorney
Revoking a Durable Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania
To revoke a durable power of attorney in Pennsylvania, the principal must complete and file a revocation of power of attorney. If they appoint a conservator or guardian, that does not lead to the revocation of the power of attorney. However, a conservator or guardian can revoke the power of attorney.
The document becomes invalid once the principal dies and the agent can no longer act on their behalf.