What is a durable power of attorney in Pennsylvania?

estate planning

It is important to recognize that a comprehensive estate plan should include a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney or “POA” is a legal document in which a person designates another to make decisions and carry out specific duties on behalf of the person. Pennsylvania authorizes a “Durable” POA which means that the powers given to another are exercisable notwithstanding the person’s subsequent disability or incapacity. To learn more, continue reading and give our legal team a call today. Our skilled Pennsylvania POA attorneys are on your side no matter what you are facing.

Important definitions

Principal. The person who creates the power of attorney
Agent. The person named in the POA has the authority to act on behalf of the principal. The agent is usually a spouse, child, children, or another close family member.

What is Pennsylvania’s power of attorney requirements?

In order to be deemed valid, the POA must be written, dated, and signed by the Principal or by another individual on behalf of and at the direction of the Principal if the Principal cannot sign and by precisely directing the individual to sign the POA. The POA must be signed by two witnesses in the presence of a notary. Witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and cannot be the person who is signing on behalf of the principal, an agent designated in the document, or the notary.

Pennsylvania law demands the POA to include a Notice provision and before the Agent can act, the Agent must execute and affix to the POA an Acknowledgement. The Notice and the Acknowledgement must concede with Pennsylvania law.

What powers can be granted to an Agent?

The Principal should think about giving some or all of the following powers to an Agent:

  • Creating a Trust for the benefit of the Principal
  • Make limited gifts
  • To make additions to an existing Trust for the benefit of the Principal
  • To claim an elective share of the estate of a deceased spouse
  • To renounce fiduciary positions
  • To withdraw and receive the income or corpus of a Trust
  • To engage in real property transactions
  • To engage in tangible personal property transactions
  • To engage in stock, bond, and other securities transaction
  • To engage in commodity and option transactions
  • To engage in banking and financial transactions
  • To borrow money
  • To enter safe deposit boxes
  • To engage in insurance and annuity transactions
  • To engage in retirement plan transactions
  • To handle interests in estates and trusts
  • To pursue claims and litigation
  • To receive government benefits
  • To pursue tax matters
  • To operate a business or entity


Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. Contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.

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