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Minnesota Power of Attorney Laws

A durable POA allows someone to help you with your financial matters if you ever become incapacitated—here's how to make one in Minnesota.

By , Attorney

If you want someone to be able to deposit your checks at your bank, file your taxes, or even sell or mortgage your home, you can create a handy document called a power of attorney. A POA is a simple document that grants specific powers to someone you trust—called an "agent" or "attorney-in-fact"—to handle certain matters for you.

What Types of Power of Attorneys Are Available in Minnesota?

You can make several different types of POAs in Minnesota. In particular, many estate plans include two POAs:

  • a financial POA, which allows someone to handle your financial or business matters, and
  • a health care POA, which allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. (In Minnesota, this health care POA is combined with a living will into one document called a "health care directive.")

In most estate plans, these POAs are what are known as "durable" POAs, which means that they retain their effectiveness even after you're incapacitated. It's a good idea for most people to create these two documents, as they help plan for the unexpected.

To learn about other types of POAs, including non-durable (limited) and springing POAs, see What Is a Power of Attorney. Below, learn how to create a durable financial POA that is valid in Minnesota.

What Are the Legal Requirements of a Financial POA in Minnesota?

For your POA to be valid in Minnesota, it must meet certain requirements.

Mental Capacity for Creating a POA

The person making a power of attorney must be of sound mind. The exact contours of this mental capacity requirement are open to interpretation by Minnesota courts. If you're helping someone make a POA and are unsure about the person's mental capacity, you should consult an attorney.

Notarization Requirement

While Minnesota technically requires you to get your POA notarized only if someone else is signing the document on your behalf (Minn. Stat. § 523.01), notarization is very strongly recommended. Many financial institutions will require a POA to be notarized (even if state law doesn't require it) before they accept it.

Steps for Making a Financial Power of Attorney in Minnesota

1. Create the POA Using a Statutory Form, Software, or Attorney

Minnesota offers a statutory form (a form drafted by the state legislature) with blanks that you can fill out to create your POA. For a more user-friendly experience, try WillMaker, which guides you through a series of questions to arrive at a POA (and estate plan) that meets your specific aims and is valid in your state. You can also hire a Minnesota lawyer to create a POA for you. Many lawyers will include durable POAs as part of a more comprehensive estate plan alongside a will or living trust.

Whatever method you choose, the process of making the POA will include selecting (or checking off), from a list, each specific power you want your agent to have. These powers might include, for example, the power to act in the following categories:

  • real property (real estate) transactions
  • bond, share, and commodity transactions
  • banking transactions
  • insurance transactions
  • beneficiary transactions, and
  • benefits from military service.

In Minnesota, if you want the power of attorney to be durable (so that it remains effective after your incapacitation), the document must explicitly state so. Minnesota's power of attorney statute suggests wording such as "This power of attorney shall not be affected by incapacity or incompetence of the principal." (Minn. Stat. § 523.07.)

2. Sign the POA in the Presence of a Notary Public

As mentioned above, after signing the POA, you should have it notarized.

3. Store the Original POA in a Safe Place

Once you have completed the POA, store the original in a safe place that your loved ones can easily access, and let them know where to find it. (It won't do much good locked away in a safe that no one can get into.) If you become incapacitated, your attorney-in-fact might need the original POA to act on your behalf.

4. Give a Copy to Your Attorney-in-Fact or Agent

You should also give a copy of the power of attorney to your attorney-in-fact so that your attorney-in-fact is familiar with the contents of the document.

5. File a Copy With the Recorder's Office

If you granted the power to deal with real estate to your attorney-in-fact, you should also file a copy of your POA in the land records office (called the recorder's office in Minnesota) in the county where you own real estate. This will allow the recorder's office to recognize your attorney-in-fact's authority if your attorney-in-fact ever needs to sell, mortgage, or transfer real estate for you.

6. Consider Giving a Copy to Financial Institutions

You can also give copies of your durable financial POA to banks or other institutions that your agent might need to deal with in the future. This step might eliminate some hassles for your agent if your agent ever needs to use the POA. Banks can sometimes be finicky about accepting POAs; see Can Banks Refuse a Power of Attorney? for more details.

Who Can Be Named an Attorney-in-Fact (Agent) in Minnesota?

Legally speaking, you can name any competent adult to serve as your attorney-in-fact. But you'll want to take into account certain practical considerations, such as the person's trustworthiness and geographical location. For more on choosing attorneys-in-fact, see What Is a Power of Attorney.

Minnesota allows you to appoint co-agents who are authorized to act at the same time, but it's usually advisable to stick to just one agent to minimize potential conflicts. However, naming a "successor" attorney-in-fact—an alternate who will become your attorney-in-fact if your first choice is unavailable for any reason—is always a good idea, as it creates a backup plan.

When Does My Durable Financial POA Take Effect?

Your POA should state when it takes effect. It's very common for the POA to become effective immediately.

In Minnesota, it's also possible to make your POA become effective only after a condition—a doctor declaring that you are incapacitated—is satisfied. However, there are many reasons why this type of "springing" power of attorney is not usually advised.

When Does My Financial Power of Attorney End?

Any power of attorney automatically ends at your death. A durable POA also ends if:

  • You revoke it. As long as you are mentally competent, you can revoke your document at any time.
  • No agent is available. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, you can name a successor (alternate) agent in your document.
  • A court invalidates your document. It's rare, but a court may declare your document invalid if it concludes that you were not mentally competent when you signed it, or that you were the victim of fraud or undue influence.

Additionally, in Minnesota, if your spouse is named as your agent in your POA, that designation automatically ends if you or your spouse files for divorce. To be clear, your ex-spouse's authority to act as your attorney-in-fact ends, but your POA is still intact. So if you named a successor attorney-in-fact, that person would become your attorney-in-fact instead.

For more on Minnesota estate planning issues, see our section on Minnesota Estate Planning.

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