Washington Power of Attorney Forms
The Washington Power of Attorney Forms act as a legal record of an individual’s decision to call on another party to manage and make decisions on their behalf regarding one or more matters. When deciding a suitable party to enter into this legally-binding relationship with, it is in the Principal’s best interests to select someone who is not only of good character, but also has the willingness, time, and/or expertise to uphold all of the contract’s terms.
What is a Washington Power of Attorney?
A Washington Power of Attorney establishes a legally-binding relationship between two parties named the Principal and the Agent. The Principal is the party who has chosen to delegate their decision making powers regarding one or more situations. The Agent is the party who will absorb such decision-making powers so that they can act in the Principal’s best interests in the situations they wish to be represented in. A fundamental principle of any POA arrangement is that the Principal must enter into it of their own accord. If it is found at the time of the POA’s execution or at a later date that the Principal entered into it under duress, the entire contract will be rendered void.
- Washington Power of Attorney Laws – (Chapter 11.125 RCW, “Uniform Power of Attorney Act” and Chapter 70.122 RCW, “Natural Death Act”)
- State Definition of Power of Attorney (RCW 11.125.020(7)) – “means a writing that uses the term “power of attorney” and grants authority to an agent to act in the place of the principal.”
- State Definition of Power of Attorney for Health Care / Directive (RCW 70.122.020(3))
– “means a written document voluntarily executed by the declarer generally consistent with the guidelines of RCW 70.122.030.”
- Signing Requirements
- Durable / General Power of Attorney (RCW 11.125.050) – Must be signed and dated by the Principal, and acknowledged before a Notary Public or another authorized individual. Alternatively, the signature may be attested by two (2) or more competent witnesses who meet the requirements set out by this law.
- Power of Attorney for Health Care / Directive (RCW 70.122.030) – Must be signed by the declarer in the presence of two (2) qualified witnesses.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances – In order for a principal to make their desire known for a POA to start or continue upon their incapacity, state law requires that it must contain the words (or similar wording) to: “This power of attorney shall not be affected by disability of the principal,” or “This power of attorney shall become effective upon the disability of the principal.”
General (Financial) Power of Attorney – Unless the above wording (or similar wording to the above) is stated in a POA, it will be considered to a POA of a general nature. That is, it will be terminated immediately upon the principal’s disability or death.
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney – A principal can tailor this type of power of attorney to reflect their specific needs as well as the requirements they wish the agent to uphold.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care / Directive – Individuals in the state of Washington may enact this legal instrument to record their end-of-life choices. Such individuals should be mindful of the state-mandated requirements regarding witnesses in order to ensure its valid execution.
Minor Child Power of Attorney – A minor child may be taken into the temporary care of a party other than their parents or guardians if their parents or guardians state the terms of such an arrangement in a Minor Child POA form.
Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney (Form TD-420-050) – The DMV grants permission to motor vehicle owners to delegate certain responsibilities they have in regards to their motor vehicle, so long as they complete and file this form with them.
Download – Adobe PDF
Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney – An individual may decide that tasks such as the sale, purchase, or management of a property would be better handled by a professional who specializes in these areas. If they wish to proceed, they must make a record of this decision in a Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney.
Revocation of Power of Attorney – In the event a POA arrangement does not pan out as the principal envisioned, or they wish to end the relationship they have with an agent for any other reason, they can retract a POA by completing this form.
Tax Filing Power of Attorney (Form REV-27-0060) – All individuals who earn an income are required by law to file their taxes on an annual basis. If any individual does not wish to handle the process of filing their taxes themselves, they can use this form to delegate this responsibility to another party, such as a tax professional or an accounting agency.
Download – Adobe PDF
When is it Effective?
In order for a Power of Attorney to be effective in the state of Washington, the following must be true:
- The document is signed and dated by the Principal (or, in the case they are physically unable to sign their name, the Principal must make a mark in accordance with RCW 11.12.030, or, in the case they are physically unable to make a mark, the POA must be executed in accordance with RCW 64.08.100),
- The signature is acknowledged before a Notary Public or another individual who is authorized by law to take acknowledgments, or
- The signature is attested by two (2) or more competent witnesses who must subscribe their names to the POA, while in the presence of the Principal and at the Principal’s direction or request.
- If witnesses are used, they must not be a) home care providers for the Principal nor care providers at an adult family home or long-term care facility in which the Principal resides or b) related to the Principal or Agent by blood, marriage, or state registered domestic partnership.
Contrasting to these signing requirements are those stipulated for a Power of Attorney for Health Care / Directive. The provision RCW 70.122.030 mandates that the document must be signed by the Declarer (the Principal) in the presence of two (2) witnesses who meet all of the criteria listed for witnesses, as noted in RCW 70.122.030.