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Power of Attorney

"Power of Attorney" is a written document often used when someone wants another adult to handle their financial or property matters. A Power of Attorney is a legal form but is NOT a court form. A Power of Attorney cannot be used to give someone the power to bring a lawsuit on your behalf. Only licensed attorneys can bring lawsuits on behalf of the individuals they represent.

The courts generally are not involved with Powers of Attorney, however, if someone becomes incapacitated or is unable to make their own decisions (e.g., in a coma, mentally incompetent, etc.) and needs another adult to make decisions for them, the court may get involved to order a legal Guardianship or Conservatorship for the incapacitated person.

The "principal" is the person who creates a Power of Attorney document, and they give authority to another adult who is called an "attorney-in-fact." The attorney-in-fact does NOT have to be a lawyer and CANNOT act as an attorney for the principal. The attorney-in-fact must be a competent adult (18 years or older). The principal has the right to revoke or cancel the Power of Attorney at any time and may put a specific time limit in the document as to how long it is valid.

Talk with a lawyer if you are not sure how to prepare a Power of Attorney for your situation or if you need legal advice.


Power of Attorney Form & Legal Fact Sheet (MN Legal Services Coalition)

NOTE: The Minnesota Legislature also publishes a sample form: Minn. Stat. § 523.23 Statutory short form of general power-of-attorney. For more information on the definitions and other legal issues, read Minn. Stat., Ch. 523.

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