Drafting a Power of Attorney Document in Pennsylvania: Key Considerations and Requirements

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a vital legal document that grants someone the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. In Pennsylvania, drafting a POA requires careful consideration of specific requirements and considerations to ensure its validity and effectiveness. Let’s explore the key elements and legal requirements involved in crafting a Power of Attorney document in Pennsylvania.

Understanding the Types of Power of Attorney

In Pennsylvania, there are several types of POA documents, each serving different purposes and scopes of authority. These include:

  • General Power of Attorney: Grants broad authority to the agent to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of the principal.
  • Limited Power of Attorney: Bestows specific stated powers to the agent for a set period or purpose, such as real estate transactions or medical decisions.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: Remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: Becomes effective only upon the occurrence of a specified event or condition, such as the principal’s incapacity.

Understanding the differences between these types of POA documents is essential for determining which one best suits your needs and circumstances.

Selecting an Agent

Choosing the right agent or attorney-in-fact is a crucial decision when drafting a Power of Attorney. Your agent should be someone you trust implicitly to act in your best interests and make decisions on your behalf. Consider factors such as reliability, competence, and availability when selecting an agent. 

It’s also essential to discuss your wishes and expectations with your chosen agent and ensure that they understand their responsibilities under the POA.

Defining Powers and Limitations

Clearly define the powers granted to your agent in the Power of Attorney document, including specific powers related to financial transactions, real estate transactions, healthcare decisions, and legal matters. Be explicit about any limitations or restrictions on your agent’s authority to avoid misunderstandings or misuse of power. 

Clearly outlining the scope of authority helps ensure that your agent acts within the parameters of your wishes and avoids overstepping their bounds.

Execution Requirements 

In Pennsylvania, there are specific execution requirements that must be met for a Power of Attorney to be valid. These include:

  • The POA must be in writing and signed by the principal.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the nature and consequences of granting power to the agent.
  • The POA must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are at least 18 years old and not named as agents or beneficiaries in the document.
  • If the POA is intended to convey real estate powers, it must be acknowledged before a notary public.

Adhering to these execution requirements is essential to ensure the validity and enforceability of the Power of Attorney document.

Considerations for Durable Powers of Attorney

If you wish for your Power of Attorney to remain in effect even if you become incapacitated, you must explicitly state this intention in the document. Additionally, consider including provisions for successor agents or co-agents to ensure continuity of decision-making in the event that your primary agent is unable to act.


Drafting a Power of Attorney document in Pennsylvania requires careful consideration of various legal requirements and considerations. By understanding the different types of POA documents, selecting a trustworthy agent, defining powers and limitations, adhering to execution requirements, and considering provisions for durability, you can create a comprehensive and effective Power of Attorney that reflects your wishes and protects your interests.  Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your POA document meets all legal requirements and serves your needs effectively.