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Types of Power of Attorney in Kentucky


A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants a designated person the authority to act on behalf of another person in specified legal and financial matters. The purpose of a POA is to allow the agent to make decisions and take actions on the principal’s behalf if the principal becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to manage their own affairs. There are multiple types of POAs available in the state of Kentucky, which we highlight below. For your own help with your estate planning needs, consider working with a financial advisor.

How a Power of Attorney Works in Kentucky

In Kentucky, a POA must meet specific legal requirements to be considered valid. The document has to be signed by the principal or in the principal’s conscious presence by another individual directed by the principal to sign their name. Additionally, the signature must be notarized and attested in the presence of two disinterested witnesses, who must also sign the document. These requirements help to ensure the authenticity and validity of the POA, protecting both the principal and the agent from potential legal challenges.

The power of attorney document outlines the specific powers and responsibilities granted to the agent, which may include managing financial accounts, making healthcare decisions or handling real estate transactions. For example, the agent could be authorized to pay bills, file taxes or sell property on the principal’s behalf. The principal can choose to grant broad or limited powers to the agent, depending on their needs and preferences. It is crucial for the principal to select a trustworthy and responsible agent who will act in their best interests and follow their wishes.

Kentucky law also requires specific language to be included in a POA for it to be considered “durable.” A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated, ensuring that the agent can continue to act on their behalf without interruption. This is particularly important for individuals who want to ensure that their affairs are managed seamlessly in the event of an unexpected illness or injury. In contrast, a regular POA would automatically terminate if the principal becomes incapacitated, potentially leaving their affairs unattended.

Types of Power of Attorney in Kentucky

A senior couple discussing a power of attorney with their financial advisor in Kentucky.

Different types of power of attorney exist to accommodate various situations and needs, allowing principals to tailor the level of authority granted to their unique circumstances. In Kentucky, there are four main types of power of attorney: general, limited, durable and springing. Choosing the appropriate type of power of attorney is essential, as it determines the scope of authority granted to the agent and can have significant legal and practical consequences.

  1. General power of attorney: A general power of attorney grants broad authority to an agent to act on behalf of the principal in a wide range of financial and legal matters. This type of power of attorney is often used when a principal needs someone to handle tasks such as managing bank accounts, signing contracts, or filing tax returns, particularly when the principal is unable to do so due to travel, illness or other commitments. The “broad authority” granted by a general power of attorney can include activities like buying or selling property, managing investments and making healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf.
  2. Limited power of attorney: A limited power of attorney differs from a general power of attorney in that it grants authority for specific tasks or transactions, rather than broad powers. This type of power of attorney is often used for one-time transactions, such as granting an agent the authority to sign documents related to a real estate closing on the principal’s behalf or allowing an agent to manage a specific investment account while the principal is out of the country.
  3. Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney is a type of power of attorney that remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. Unlike a general power of attorney, which is terminated upon the principal’s incapacitation, a durable power of attorney continues to be effective, allowing the agent to make decisions on the principal’s behalf even if they become mentally or physically unable to do so themselves.
  4. Springing power of attorney: A springing power of attorney is a type of power of attorney that only goes into effect upon a specific triggering event, such as the principal’s incapacitation. Unlike a durable power of attorney, which is effective immediately upon signing, a springing power of attorney lies dormant until the specified triggering event occurs, such as the principal being declared mentally incompetent by a physician.

You may want to discuss your needs with a professional before deciding what type of power of attorney works best for your situation.

How to Create a Power of Attorney in Kentucky

To create a power of attorney in Kentucky, you will need to gather the necessary information and documents. This includes:

  • Full names, addresses and contact information of the principal and the agent(s).
  • A clear description of the powers being granted to the agent(s).
  • The duration of the power of attorney (e.g., indefinite or for a specific time period).
  • Any specific instructions or limitations on the agent’s authority.
  • The principal’s signature and the date of execution.
  • Signatures of two witnesses or a notary public.

It is essential to discuss the responsibilities and expectations with the chosen agent(s) before drafting the document to ensure that they are willing and able to fulfill their duties.

In Kentucky, there is no requirement to file the power of attorney with a government agency. However, you should provide copies of the executed document to the named agent(s) and any relevant third parties, such as banks, healthcare providers or real estate agents. The original document should be stored in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box or a fireproof safe, and the principal should inform the agent(s) and trusted family members of its location.

Bottom Line

A senior couple creating a power of attorney in Kentucky.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows individuals to grant authority to trusted agents to manage their affairs, particularly in situations where they may become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for themselves. Understanding the different types of power of attorney, such as general, limited, durable and springing, is essential for creating a document that meets one’s specific needs and goals. By following Kentucky’s legal requirements and seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney, individuals can ensure that their power of attorney is properly drafted and executed.

Tips for Estate Planning

  • Estate planning can be difficult and many people aren’t prepared to navigate it on their own. A financial advisor can help you figure out what you need to build the estate plan that will protect your assets and provide for your other needs. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you’re wanting to get started with your own estate planning, consider using a checklist to get started on the right path.

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