Uniform Power Of Attorney Act Law and Legal Definition

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) is an unofficial set of laws concerning powers of attorney proposed for all states to adopt as written, for the purpose of their being more uniformity of laws from state to state.

The UPOAA supersedes the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act, the Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney Act, and Article 5, Part 5 of the Uniform Probate Code. It consists of four articles. The first contains all of the general provisions that pertain to creation and use of a power of attorney. While most of these provisions are default rules that can be altered by the power of attorney, certain mandatory provisions in Article 1 serve as safeguards for the protection of the principal, the agent, and persons who are asked to rely on the agent?s authority. Article 2 provides default definitions for the various areas of authority that can be granted to an agent. The genesis for most of these definitions is the Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney Act (1988). However, the language is updated where necessary to reflect modern day transactions. Article 2 also identifies certain areas of authority that must be granted with express language because of the propensity of such authority to dissipate the principal?s property or alter the principal?s estate plan (Sec. 201(a)). Article 3 contains an optional statutory form that is designed for use by lawyers as well as lay persons. Step-by-step prompts are given for designation of the agent, successor agents, and the grant of authority. Article 3 also contains a sample agent certification form. Article 4 contains miscellaneous provisions concerning the relationship of the Act to other law and pre-existing powers of attorney.

The catalyst for the new Uniform Power of Attorney Act was a national study in 2002, which revealed growing divergence in state power of attorney legislation. Many states have adopted the uniform power of attorney law. Louisiana is the only state that has not adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act; however, it does have a durable power of attorney statute. For example, Virginia adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act in 2010. Two of the provisions are detailed below:

� 26-74. Applicability

This act applies to all powers of attorney except:

1. A power to the extent it is coupled with an interest in the subject of the power, including a power given to or for the benefit of a creditor in connection with a credit transaction;

2. A power to make health care decisions;

3. A proxy or other delegation to exercise voting rights or management rights with respect to an entity;

4. A power created on a form prescribed by a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality for a governmental purpose; and

5. A power to make arrangements for burial or disposition of remains pursuant to � 54.1-2825. [Va. Code Ann. � 26-74]

� 26-76. Execution of power of attorney

A power of attorney shall be signed by the principal or in the principal's conscious presence by another individual directed by the principal to sign the principal's name on the power of attorney. A signature on a power of attorney is presumed to be genuine if the principal acknowledges the signature before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments. A power of attorney in order to be recordable shall satisfy the requirements of � 55-106. [Va. Code Ann. � 26-76]

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