Instrument: Power of Attorney (POA)
What is it for?
The “power of attorney” (POA) grants an individual (“principal”) the authority to grant another person (“agent”) to make decisions concerning the principal’s property on the principal’s behalf.
What does it do?
The POA empowers the agent to make decisions and act with respect to the principal’s property whether or not the principal is able to act for themself. The agent is granted authority over a broad range of matters, unless the POA expressly limits the agent’s authority. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-702. The POA cannot include the power to make health care decisions. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-703.
Unless a POA expressly states otherwise, a POA is considered to be “durable,” which means the agent’s authority continues during a period when the principal lacks capacity. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-704.
In making decisions for the principal, the agent must act in good faith, only within the scope of the authority granted in the POA, and in accordance with the principal’s known expectations and in the principal’s best interest. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-714.
Third parties must generally accept decisions made by the agent as if the principal had made them. They may, however, request the agent for a certification of the POA’s validity. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-720.
How does one make it?
The POA must be in writing, signed by the principal or in the principal’s conscious presence by another, and notarized. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-705.
When does it come into effect?
The agent’s authority becomes effective immediately when the POA is executed unless the POA states that it becomes effective at a future date or upon the occurrence of future event, such as upon the principal’s “incapacity.” Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-709(1).
If the POA becomes effective upon a future date, occurrence, or event, a principal may designate one or more persons to determine that the future date, occurrence, or event has occurred in writing. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-709(2). Unless the POA states otherwise, the principal’s incapacity will be determined by a physician or a licensed psychologist. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-709(3)(a).
For the purpose of this determination, “incapacity” means the principal is unable to manage their property or business affairs for two main reasons due to an impairment in the ability to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions even with the use of technological assistance. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-702(5)(a).
How long does it last?
A durable POA generally lasts until the principal or agent dies; the principal revokes the POA; the POA provides that it terminates upon some future date or event; the purpose of the POA is accomplished; or the agent’s authority is revoked. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-710.
How does one end it?
A principal may revoke a POA by either: substantial compliance with a method provided in the POA document for revoking the POA; or by any method manifesting clear and convincing evidence of the principal’s intent to revoke the POA. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-710.
What does an example look like?
A statutory form is provided at Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-741. An optional agent’s certification form is provided at Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-14-742. The Colorado Secretary of State also provides a sample form here.
What else should one know?
Colorado’s POA is based on the Uniform Power of Attorney Act.
Updated August 2022