Durable Power of Attorney Documents
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
A power of attorney document lets you choose a trusted friend or relative to help you with your finances and/or health care decisions. Forms for you to fill out are provided. Publication #9608EN
Questions and Answers
What is a power of attorney document?
A power of attorney document lets you choose a trusted friend or relative to help you with your finances and/or health care decisions. After you sign it, the person you choose will take the power of attorney document to your medical providers, bank, school, and other places to make decisions and sign contracts just as if he or she were you.
The trusted friend or relative you choose to help you with your finances and/or health care decisions is called your “agent.”
Do I need to sign my document in front of a notary?
Yes. You should sign your Durable Power of Attorney document in front of a notary. Alternatively, you can sign it in front of two “disinterested” witnesses, but notarization is preferred, especially if you are signing a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.
What should I do after I sign it?
After you sign your documents, make two copies. Give the original document to your agent, give one copy to your alternate agent, and keep the second copy for yourself.
Can I change my Power of Attorney documents and choose a new agent?
You can revoke (cancel) your power of attorney document at any time with a written notice to your agent. A sample “Notice of Revocation” is included in this packet. You can also give a copy of this written notice to your medical providers, bank, school, and other places that might accept the old power of attorney document.
What if I need legal help?
If you live outside King County, call the CLEAR hotline Monday-Friday from 9:15 am to 12:15 pm at 1-888-201-1014. You can also apply online at nwjustice.org/get-legal-help.
If you live in King County, call 211 for information and referral to a legal services provider Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can find more information online at www.resourcehouse.com/win211/.
Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired callers can call CLEAR or 211 (or toll-free 1-877-211-9274) using the relay service of their choice.
Free legal education publications, videos and self-help packets covering many legal issues are available at WashingtonLawHelp.org.