A Massachusetts general power of attorney (GPOA) is a legal document nominating an agent to make financial decisions on the principal’s behalf. Depending on the powers the principal decides to grant, the agent may be able to open/close bank accounts, make investments, and handle business affairs for the principal.
Whatever powers the principal awards to the agent are only valid while the principal is living and competent. This non-durable document becomes invalid if the principal becomes disabled or otherwise incapacitated. If you want to assign powers that remain valid upon your incapacitation, create a durable power of attorney.
Authority (Gen. Laws of MA § 5-407) – An attorney-in-fact can exercise the powers the principal has explicitly given them. They must not complete any actions that existing instruments or agreements prohibit.
Signing Requirements (Gen. Laws of MA § 5-103) – State law doesn’t specify any signing requirements for an adult principal assigning an agent. However, they should consider getting a third party to witness their signature to increase the document’s legitimacy. If a parent or guardian appoints a power of attorney for a minor, they must have two witnesses present during the signing.
Presumption of Durability (Gen. Laws of MA § 5-501) – Massachusetts doesn’t have presumed durability. Instead, the form must have clear language that defines it as durable.