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If it is properly drafted, the Power of Attorney document can be an effective tool in the hands of your Attorney-in-Fact. It can grant many powers, such as the power to buy and sell your real estate, powers to open and close bank accounts, cash out insurance policies, and transfer assets.

Your question points toward two big areas of consideration:
1) is your son the right person for the job? and
2) what formalities does your state requires to make a valid POA document?

First, the purpose of the Power of Attorney document is to have a trusted person, designated in advance, to manage your financial affairs. The trusted person will be able to manage things for you, if you become unable to speak for yourself. This avoids the need for Probate Court to appoint a Conservator. Nobody wants to put their family through the delays and costs of Probate Court. Is your son the best person for this responsibility? 

As you think on this, ask whether you want the agent to be able to transfer assets to himself. If the Attorney-in-Fact is your spouse, that power of "self-dealing" may not matter at all. But if the person you are considering does not already co-own everything with you, maybe you don’t want him or her to have that power.

Also consider whether your agent should be required to account for what he’s doing with your money, and who he or she must be accountable to.

You can reach the best answers to these questions (and many more relevant concerns) by talking with an Elder Law or Estate Planning Attorney who is willing to take the time to understand you and your circumstances.

Second: what are the document signing formalities in your state that are required to make a valid POA document? What are the requirements for witnesses and notarization of the document in your state? Don't leave these issues to guess work, or reliance on general answers provided online.

Even if family members could be considered competent witnesses, do you really want to create potential conflict of interest issues within the family if the POA document needs to be used in the future? Remember, the POA must be acceptable to third party financial, business and real estate entities. Your goal is to avoid and eliminate any questions about the document. Disinterested witnesses who have no connection to you and no claim to your estate fulfill that goal.

Again, to be sure that the document will be valid and acceptable to third parties in the future, you need an Attorney who is responsible for drafting the document to your specifications in compliance with the law in your state.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to John L. Roberts
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Our OD is our POA and executor--as far as witnesses, we had everything witnessed and notarized at the attorney's office. I don't think you have to appoint witnesses, unless you feel your POA isn't going to do right by you.

IMHO, the more people involved in a 'family situation' the harder it is to get what YOU want done.

Mother and dad appointed YBs as co-POAs as it has been a true nightmare, they clash over everything.
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Reply to Midkid58
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You can appoint anyone you like as your POA. Depending on what sort of POA, though, there may be certain criteria he'd have to meet - do you have any concerns that your son might not be thought right for the role by other people?

What is it that you need to have witnessed? There are some documents that require the witness to be someone completely independent and have no relationship with you, but it very much depends on what it's about.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Here in MN the witness could not be a family member. You can probably call the notary and ask who is permitted as a witness and how many. Banks and hospitals always have notaries, but banks will not notarize wills (in MN).
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Reply to Geaton777
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Hi, I'm not sure what state you are in, but they each have different rules about who can witness. In some, it can be family, in others a notary is required. In California, one witness can be a family member and long as it's not the proposed agent, and the other must not be related by blood, marriage and not in the Principles will.

Here is a link where you can find the form for every state and the instructions which should include who can be witness.

https://www.nhpco.org/patients-and-caregivers/advance-care-planning/advance-directives/downloading-your-states-advance-directive/

Good luck.
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Reply to SofiaAmirpoor
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Joe, when I needed to have Power of Attorney drawn up, I had an "Elder Law Attorney" as they know the laws of the State, and what is coming down the pike. It was recommended that I have a primary person and a secondary person to be my POA.

The secondary person i choose was the Elder Law Attorney herself. That way years down the road, if I am an elder who needs help and my POA is also an elder who just can't do this assignment, then the Attorney can jump in, or anyone else in the firm. The Attorney, of course, would charge an hourly fee if they had to assume the role of POA.

As for witnesses, when legal documents are drawn up at the Attorney's office, the Attorney will have their Staff be the witnesses and another person be the Notary.

Anyone can be your Power of Attorney, in fact you can even have one person be your medical POA, and another person be your financial POA. You choose whomever you feel is up to the "job" of being POA. Yes, it can become a "job" later down the road depending on how much work is involved.
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Reply to freqflyer
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