Massachusetts Power of Attorney Forms
The Massachusetts Power of Attorney Forms bestow the legal right for a party (referred to as the Agent) appointed by an individual (referred to as the Principal) to take charge of any of the Principal’s affairs that have been outlined by this legal document. Although bearing similarities to a will, a POA carries one fundamental difference—it can only be enforced by the Agent if the Principal is still alive, whereas a will can only be enforced after the executor of the will’s death.
What is a Massachusetts Power of Attorney?
A Massachusetts Power of Attorney address all of the legal requirements necessary for an Agent to act on a Principal’s behalf to take care of their affairs. The matters in which the Agent may do so can include guardianship of the Principal’s children, management of their real estate, and their end-of-life care. Given the substantial powers an Agent is bestowed, it is crucial that the POA form is precise in its wording, lest the Agent be left to disambiguate the meanings contained within.
- Massachusetts Power of Attorney Laws – (Chapter 190B, “Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code”)
- State Definition of Power of Attorney – No state definition given.
- Signing Requirements
- General/Durable Power of Attorney – State law is silent on the matter of signing requirements for the execution of a General or Durable POA. That being said, it is advisable that the document is at least signed by the Principal in the presence of a licensed Notary Public.
- Advance Directive / Medical Power of Attorney (Chapter 201D, Section 2) – The Principal must sign the POA in the presence of two (2) other adults who must subscribe their names as witnesses to the signature.
Durable Power of Attorney – This type of POA remains in effect regardless of the principal’s mental and physical capacity at a future date.
General (Financial) Power of Attorney – A non-durable type of POA that will only be active so long as the Principal is fully capable, as per relevant laws, to communicate responsible decisions.
Health Care Proxy (Medical Power of Attorney) – Recording end-of-life choices in a Health Care Proxy will help to prevent disputes between the principal’s loved ones about what they truly want from their end-of-life care.
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney – A type of POA that reduces the scope of an agent’s powers to the limited circumstances specified in the document.
Minor Child Power of Attorney – An individual nominated by a guardian or parent can assume the care of a child in the particular circumstances set out in this form.
Motor Vehicle (DMV) Power of Attorney – A type of limited POA filed with the DMV that allows for another party to take charge of matters connected to the principal’s motor vehicle.
Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney – Potential or actual homeowners may assign another party to help to manage their real estate affairs using this form.
Revocation of Power of Attorney – A document that legally represents the principal’s decision to withdraw a power of attorney arrangement.
State Tax Filing Power of Attorney (Form M-2848) – Filed with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, this document makes it possible for a principal to elect another individual or entity to represent them before the Department for one or more tax matters.
Download – Adobe PDF
When is it Effective?
In Massachusetts, the requirements for a POA to come into effect are dependent on the type of form in use.
Not specified: State law does not specify any signing requirements for the following types of power of attorney:
- Durable POA,
- General POA,
- Limited POA,
- Power of Attorney Revocation,
- Motor Vehicle (DMV) Power of Attorney, and
- Real Estate Power of Attorney
While no state-mandated signing requirements exist for these POA forms, it is highly recommended that in addition to the Principal’s signature, the POA is signed by two (2) witnesses and a Notary Public.
Two (2) witnesses: According to Chapter 201D, Section 2, in order for a Medical Power of Attorney (Health Care Proxy) to be put into effect, the POA must be signed by the Principal in the presence of two (2) other adults who must subscribe their names as witnesses to such signature.
According to Chapter 201D, Section 5-202, in order for a Minor Child Power of Attorney to be put into effect, the POA must be signed by the Principal (parent or guardian) and attested by at least two (2) witnesses.
Two (2) witnesses and a Notary Public: According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, a Massachusetts Tax Power of Attorney form must be signed by the taxpayer and the named Attorney-in-Fact. If Power of Attorney is bestowed to a party who is not an attorney, certified public accountant, public accountant, or enrolled agent, it is necessary for the taxpayer’s signature to be witnessed and signed by two (2) witnesses and a Notary Public.