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Types of Powers of Attorney Available in South Carolina


A power of attorney (POA) can help you manage personal, financial, or health-related affairs when you cannot do so yourself. Each power of attorney can be tailored to your specific needs. The document can be broad, covering a wide range of decisions, or it can be narrow, limiting the agent’s authority to specific tasks. Here’s a breakdown of each type for South Carolina.

If you need help with your own estate planning or other financial needs, consider working with your own financial advisor.

How a Power of Attorney Works in South Carolina

A POA is a legal instrument in South Carolina, enabling one person (the agent) to act on behalf of another (the principal). This document is particularly important for individuals who may become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage their personal, financial or health-related affairs. The principal must be mentally competent when the POA is created.

Createing a POA in South Carolina involves drafting a document that specifies the extent of the agent’s authority. This can range from general powers, allowing the agent to handle a broad spectrum of matters, to specific powers, limiting their control to particular tasks or decisions. The document must be signed by the principal and witnessed by two individuals or notarized.

Types of POAs in South Carolina

A client reading over a power of attorney with a lawyer in South Carolina.

Here are five main types of POAs available in South Carolina:

  • General power of attorney: This POA grants broad authority to the agent, allowing them to manage most aspects of the principal’s financial and personal affairs. It is useful for comprehensive management but ends if the principal becomes incapacitated.
  • Durable power of attorney: Unlike the general POA, a durable POA remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This can be useful for long-term planning, ensuring continuous management of the principal’s affairs without interruption.
  • Limited (or special) power of attorney: This POA grants the agent authority to perform specific tasks or manage certain aspects of the principal’s affairs, such as selling property or handling a single financial transaction. It is temporary and ends once the task is completed.
  • Springing power of attorney: A springing POA only takes effect under predetermined conditions, typically when the principal becomes incapacitated. This type triggers the agent’s authority only when necessary, providing a safeguard against premature activation.
  • Medical power of attorney: This POA specifically authorizes the agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal. It can help align medical care with the principal’s wishes if they are unable to communicate their preferences.

How to Create a Power of Attorney in South Carolina

The process for creating a power of attorney in the state is similar to other states, but there are some unique rules to pay attention to. Here is what you need to do.

First, decide the extent of the authority you wish to grant your agent. This could range from a general POA, giving broad powers over various aspects of your affairs, to a limited POA, restricting the agent’s authority to specific tasks or decisions. Consider whether a durable POA, which remains effective even if you become incapacitated, is necessary for your situation.

Next, the POA document must be carefully drafted to reflect the scope of authority and any specific instructions you wish to include. While templates are available, consulting with an attorney is advisable to make sure that the document complies with South Carolina law and accurately conveys your wishes. The document should clearly state your name, the agent’s name and the powers granted.

In South Carolina, the principal must sign the POA in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public. The witnesses should not be the agent or anyone benefiting from the POA. This step is important for the document’s validity and helps prevent potential disputes about its authenticity. After signing, provide the agent with the original POA document.

You’re not done even when you have a valid legal document. It’s important to periodically review and update your POA to reflect any changes in your circumstances or intentions. Changes in relationships or financial situations might require that adjustments are made to the document so that it remains relevant and effective.

Bottom Line

A couple meeting with a financial advisor to create a power of attorney in South Carolina.

Each type of POA in South Carolina serves a unique purpose, providing flexibility to address various needs and circumstances. By carefully considering the scope and intent of the authority granted, individuals can make sure that their affairs are managed according to their wishes, even if they become unable to do so themselves.

Tips for Financial Planning

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