Table of Contents
- Download a Tennessee Power of Attorney Template
- Tennessee Power of Attorney Requirements
- Examples of Duties Handled
- Terms of the Document – Types of POAs
- Revoking a Power of Attorney
- Is this the same as a healthcare power of attorney?
1. Download a Tennessee Power of Attorney Template
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2. Tennessee Power of Attorney Requirements
In accordance with Tenn. Code § 34-6-101, et seq., a power of attorney is a document that allows an agent, called an “attorney-in-fact” or “AIF,” in Tennessee, the power to make financial decisions on the behalf of another person, aptly named the “principal.” Any person that is competent and over the age of eighteen, as well as any financial institution, in certain situations, may serve as an attorney-in-fact.
While the state offers power of attorney forms specifically with regard to vehicle and tax transactions, there is no general form provided by the Tennessee government that can be used for all financial purposes. However, you may use downloadable templates found online, or you may draft your own. That said, it is pertinent that you carefully word your document in accordance with the state requirements.
A Tennessee power of attorney must specifically authorize each decision the principal is allowing the attorney-in-fact to make. In addition, the document must:
- Be signed and dated by the principal while he or she maintains still his or her competence.
- Be notarized in the presence of a minimum of two witnesses.
- Sometimes, in accordance with Tenn. Code § 34-6-105(c), be accompanied by an affidavit executed by the attorney-in-fact stating that such document is conclusive proof of the non-termination or non-revocation of the companion power of attorney. This is only necessary when a third party refuses to accept or acknowledge the power of attorney on its own.
Motor vehicle powers of attorney require notarization, and powers of attorney specifically for tax purposes must be signed by the attorney-in-fact, as well as the principal, and he or she must state the nature of their particular relationship.
Power of Attorney PDF Sample
The power of attorney (POA) sample below gives “Agent” Debra W McGee the authority to make financial decisions in the event that “Principal” James K Lyle is incapacitated. Debra has the authority to handle issues dealing with James’s property, stocks, insurance, and business.Tennessee Power of Attorney (Financial)
3. Examples of Duties Handled
In Tennessee, Tenn. Code § 34-6-109 governs the powers that an attorney-in-fact is typically given. However, a power of attorney can be as limited or as broad as the principal wishes it to be. This means that he or she can list only particular acts that the attorney-in-fact will be allowed to handle, or it can be written in such a way that the attorney-in-fact can handle all financial and business matters on the principal’s behalf and for his or her benefit.
Tenn. Code § 34-6-103 delineates that any action that an attorney-in-fact performs as a proxy for the principal, such as signing a contract, is just as legally-binding as if the principal had signed it his or her self. These acts can remain binding even after the principal has died, with some creditors making claims against the deceased’s estate. This is why it is crucial that the attorney-in-fact acts with reasonable care and in good faith with regard to each transaction. As such, he or she may charge a reasonable fee for such services.
The attorney-in-fact should take diligent care to ensure that the property and finances of the principal are never commingled with his or her own. In accordance with Tenn. Code § 34-6-107, the attorney-in-fact must also keep accurate records of all financial transactions including those involving banking, benefits, and real and personal property.
Tennessee clearly states that an attorney-in-fact cannot sign a testimonial document that states that a principal has knowledge of particular facts, and he or she cannot vote in an election for him or her. The attorney-in-fact is also forbidden from completing the terms of a contract that was agreed to initially by the principal.
4. Terms of the Document – Types of POAs
There are different types of powers of attorney in the state of Tennessee depending on how long you need the document for and what its actual purpose is. The five types of powers of attorney are:
- General Powers of Attorney – These documents give an attorney-in-fact extremely broad powers to conduct all financial transactions on a principal’s behalf. Basically it gives permission to perform nearly every legal act that a power of attorney can allow. It still must list specific actions that the attorney-in-fact is allowed to conduct, but the language is much broader than that of a limited power of attorney.
- Limited Powers of Attorney – These documents list only very specific acts that an attorney-in-fact is being permitted to perform by the principal. Sometimes this is limited to one act, such as the sale of a vehicle by a principal who may be away on a business trip. Another example is made available by the Tennessee Department of Revenue, which provides a state-issued power of attorney to fill out. The document gives the attorney-in-fact the authority to work on the principal’s taxes, but no other powers.
- Springing Powers of Attorney – These documents only become effective upon the occurrence of a future event, such as the incapacitation of the principal. It’s named as such because it will “spring” into effect once this particular event happens. The document must specifically state that the powers are contingent on a future event, or it will be assumed to be effective upon the principal signing the document.
- Durable Powers of Attorney – In accordance with Tenn. Code § 34-6-102, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even after the principal becomes incapacitated, incompetent, or otherwise unable to make his or her own decisions. It must clearly state “this power of attorney shall not be affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal,” or similar wording to be considered durable.
- Non-durable Powers of Attorney – These documents do not remain in effect after the principal loses his or her competence and can no longer make his or her own decisions.
All of these powers of attorney are referred to as “financial powers of attorney,” differentiating them from their counterparts – health care powers of attorney.
5. Revoking a Power of Attorney
In Tennessee, a power of attorney can be revoked by the principal at any time as long as he or she is competent. The revocation can be stated orally or in writing, and it will become immediately effective. You can easily find revocation forms online, if you need them.
Another way to revoke a power of attorney is for the principal to simply create a new one, which will supersede its predecessor, even if the first document was not properly revoked. If the attorney-in-fact is the principal’s spouse, a divorce will automatically revoke the power of attorney document without any further action. Notice of revocation must be provided to the attorney-in-fact; it is also important, though not legally necessary, to inform all businesses and financial institutions that the principal associates with of the revocation.
6. Is this the same as a healthcare power of attorney?
The durable power of attorney for healthcare, as it is called in Tennessee, in accordance with Tenn. Code § 34-6-201, et seq., is a durable and springing document that gives a specific healthcare attorney-in-fact the power to make healthcare decisions on a principal’s behalf when he or she no longer has the capacity to make such decisions for his or herself. This inability can include mental incompetence, such as advanced dementia, or physical incapacitation, such as being in a coma. Decisions can range from advanced directives, end-of-life decisions, and the disposal of bodily remains.
The state provides a template for this document among its advanced care plans, though you can find comparable examples online. The principal must designate an agent, and nominate a secondary agent in case the primary agent cannot fulfill his or her duties, or he or she is unable or unwilling to do so. The document must be witnessed by two people who do not stand to gain from the death of the principal, and their signatures must be notarized. The power of attorney may be revoked at any time by the principal giving his or her attending physician notice in writing or orally, but the agent is not required to be informed.