Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

Types of Powers of Attorney in Louisiana


A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes one person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make decisions on behalf of another, the principal. The scope of this authority can vary, covering everything from financial management to medical decisions, depending on the type of POA established. Each type of POA serves distinct purposes and offers varying degrees of control and protection, tailored to the principal’s needs and circumstances. Whether managing business operations during an extended absence, overseeing financial transactions, or making critical healthcare decisions during incapacitation, a POA ensures that personal affairs are handled according to the principal’s wishes.

Get help understanding your own estate plan and start the process of protecting your assets by talking to a financial advisor.

How a Power of Attorney Works in Louisiana

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants one person or entity, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal, in legal or financial matters. This document is crucial in scenarios where the principal is unable to manage their affairs due to reasons such as illness, absence or incapacity.

In Louisiana, for a power of attorney to be considered valid, it must be signed by the principal and two witnesses and it must be notarized. This differs from some other states where notarization might not be mandatory. Louisiana law also requires that the POA explicitly specify the powers granted to the agent, as general clauses granting all-encompassing powers are not permissible. This specificity ensures that the agent clearly understands the extent of their authority and responsibilities.

Types of Powers of Attorney in Louisiana

A couple looking up requirements for different types of powers of attorney in Louisiana.

Each type of POA serves distinct purposes, tailored to specific circumstances and requirements. Here are the four main types to consider:

  1. General power of attorney: A general power of attorney in Louisiana entrusts the agent with extensive legal powers to manage the principal’s affairs comprehensively. This type of POA is particularly expansive, authorizing the agent to make decisions across a broad spectrum of activities including financial transactions, business management and legal matters.
  2. Limited power of attorney: Contrasting with the broad powers of a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney in Louisiana is characterized by its specificity. It confines the agent’s authority to particular tasks or for a limited duration. This type of POA is tailored to specific transactions or periods, making it suitable for principals who wish to grant only a narrow scope of authority.
  3. Medical power of attorney: A medical power of attorney is a specialized form of POA focused exclusively on healthcare decisions. It becomes operative when the principal is incapacitated and unable to make informed decisions about their health care. The agent’s authority under a Medical power of attorney includes making decisions about medical treatments, surgical procedures and other health-related issues.
  4. Springing power of attorney: Unique among POAs, the springing power of attorney is conditional, designed to become effective only under specific circumstances, such as the incapacitation of the principal. This type of POA remains dormant until certain predefined conditions are met, typically requiring a medical declaration of the principal’s incapacity.

To choose the power of attorney you need, consider things such as the scope of your needs and what powers need to be granted. By considering these factors and following the correct procedures, you can effectively establish a POA that meets your needs and provides essential protection for your affairs.

How to Create a Power of Attorney in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the relevance of a power of attorney is magnified by the state’s unique civil law system, which sets it apart from the common law frameworks prevalent in other U.S. states. Creating a power of attorney in Louisiana involves several key steps that must be meticulously followed to ensure the document’s legal validity and effectiveness. Here is a breakdown of the process:

  1. Decide whether a general, durable or specific POA is needed based on the principal’s requirements.
  2. Draft the Document: Clearly state the powers granted to the agent.
  3. Sign the document in the presence of a notary and two witnesses to meet Louisiana’s legal standards.
  4. Include specific phrasing to affirm its enduring nature if the POA is meant to remain effective after the principal’s incapacitation.

Given the complexities and legal stipulations involved, consulting with a legal professional is highly advisable to navigate the nuances of Louisiana law and to tailor the POA accurately to the principal’s needs. However, for those who prefer to proceed independently, various resources are available to assist in the process.

Bottom Line

A couple creating a power of attorney in Louisiana.

Understanding and utilizing a power of attorney (POA) in Louisiana is essential for anyone seeking to ensure their affairs are managed according to their wishes, especially in times of incapacity or absence. The state’s unique legal requirements, including the necessity for notarization and specificity in the powers granted, underscore the importance of meticulous legal documentation. Whether opting for a general, limited, medical or springing POA, individuals must carefully consider the scope and conditions of the legal authority they are delegating.

Tips for Estate Planning

  • A financial advisor can help you with your estate planning needs and protect your assets. 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 looking to get a headstart on your estate plan, consider an estate planning checklist that helps you make sure you thinking through the right things.

Photo credit: ©, © Radin, ©