Power Of Attorney (POA)

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
Read this in: Spanish / Español


About Power of Attorney (POA) In Louisiana

Under Louisiana law, a Power of Attorney (POA) is called a Mandate. To give someone power of attorney means you are giving another person authority to act on your behalf, typically for your financial decisions, your medical decisions, or both. 

In Louisiana, POA is a legal contract in which the person granting the authority is called the "grantor" or the "principal" while the person receiving the authority is called the "agent" or the "mandatary"

It is important to note that Louisiana law requires the agent/mandatary to actually accept the authority you have given to him/her.

What You Need To Know

Yes, there are two types of POA in Louisiana. There is a General Power of Attorney and there is a Limited or Special Power of Attorney. The language of the document will govern what type of financial transactions, medical decisions, or legal decisions, a person may make for you. POA may be a useful tool in caring for a child or an elderly parent(s). The authority given in a POA may be very broad or it may be limited to a specific purpose or transaction based on the specific language within the document. 

General Power of Attorney

  • This document governs all powers granted within the POA
  • The specific language of the POA document will grant the agent specific authority to make decisions on behalf of the principal. 
  • If you are a military service member, facing a life-threatening disease, or facing a high-risk surgery, this document can help your agent make your legal, financial, and/or medical decisions in the event that you are unable to make your own or become incapacitated. 
  • A general POA is usually granted to your spouse, a family member, or a close friend. 

Limited or Special Power of Attorney 

  • This type of POA "refers to less than all powers" and is typically used for matters of convenience rather than necessity. 
  • This POA should contain very specific language for what authority you are giving to the agent.
  • For example, this type of POA is beneficial when the principal wishes to grant someone the specific power to conduct a real estate transaction on their behalf because they are unavailable to do so.

Yes, you may choose more than one person as your agent. For example, a POA allows you to delegate your medical decisions to one person and your financial decisions to another person. It is important to make each agent's scope of authority VERY clear in your POA documents. 

If you do not delegate specific powers to each agent, this will result in more than one person having concurrent or dual power over your decisions. This means that both agents will have equal power to make decisions on your behalf. However, this is risky and not ideal for many reasons. If your multiple agents have a disagreement this could lead to litigation and could be very problematic. 

Effective Immediately 

  • In Louisiana, if there is no start date or event occurrence that would put a POA into effect, the POA will generally be effective immediately. 

Conditional POA

  • In Louisiana, the law provides for a Conditional Power of Attorney, also known as a "springing" power of attorney.
  • This means that the principal (the person giving their authority) must expressly state in the POA a certain start date, or an event occurrence, or a certain condition to take place in order for the POA to take effect.
  • Simply put, the POA will spring into effect when the start date occurs or if the event or condition occurs. This type of POA is commonly used for capacity issues or if the principal becomes disabled. 

Requirements in Louisiana for a conditional POA to take effect: 

  • If the disability occurs, it must be established by an affidavit that states that the principal is unable to make their own decisions regarding their person or their property, due to the infirmity. 
  • The affidavit must be signed by two physicians. 
  • An exception: IF stated in the POA by the principal, the affidavit may be signed by one physician and by the agent, instead of a second physician. 

Yes, this contract may usually be revoked at any time. Utilizing a POA does not mean you are permanently giving up your rights.

However, please note that in Louisana all POAs are deemed durable and go into effect immediately, absent an event occurrence or start date.

  • A durable power of attorney means that if your POA is effective immediately, your agent or mandatary will continue their obligations and duties to you in the event that you become incapacitated.
  • Granting an agent with power of attorney in Louisiana means that your agent will automatically take on or continue their responsibility if you become incapacitated unless you specifically state otherwise in your POA.
  • The principal party must state that he/she wishes for the POA to terminate upon their incapacity in order for it to be deemed a "non-durable" POA. 

If a POA is revoked at any time, you may assign a new individual to hold POA over your decisions. 

It is very important that you fulfill Louisiana's requirements to validate your POA.

Notary and Form Requirements:

  • Your POA must be in written form. Verbal POAs are not valid in Louisiana. 
  • You must notarize all of your POA documents, even the copies, in order to ensure it is certified under Louisiana law.
  • Notarizing your documents means signing the document in front of a notary and two witnesses. Please note that a notary cannot also serve as a witness to your document. Witnesses must be someone other than you and the agent, over the age of 18, and competent. 
  • Ensure that the notary is qualified to notarize documents in Louisiana and in the parish in which it will be executed. 
  • It is also important that your agent has possession of the original document in order to present it when making decisions on your behalf.

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Each state has its own civil codes regarding the power of attorney documents and their validity. We recommend that you consult a Louisiana estate planning attorney before trusting that your documents are valid and complete. 

Additionally, just like any other legal document - your POA document should be written to meet your specific needs and circumstances. 

Please keep in mind that while a POA grants your agent the power to carry out certain actions for you, the agent must act in the best interest of the principal (you). It is very important to choose someone you trust to be your agent. 

Below you can find a General Power of Attorney document. If you want the powers granted in the Power of Attorney document to be specific to your needs, you should meet with a Louisiana attorney to custom-draft this document. 

Sample Power Of Attorney Document

Last Review and Update: Sep 28, 2022
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