In Louisiana, a power of attorney is called a “mandate”. Mandates must be in writing. Verbal mandates are not recognized. So, you can’t just tell someone else that you want them to act as your agent over your person or over your property.
It must also be in authentic form. Authentic form means that it must be signed in front of a notary public and two witnesses.
The notary must be qualified to notarize documents in the state and parish where the mandate is executed. The witnesses must be competent (over the age of eighteen and not be interdicted). The notary cannot serve also as a witness. Also, persons named in the document (principal and agent) cannot serve as witnesses or the notary.
It is very important that a mandate be executed in proper form to ensure that is legal and valid. Otherwise, it is not required to be recognized by third parties. In an effort to save attorney’s fees and costs, many people try to “do it yourself” in signing online powers of attorneys, forms written by the person themselves or forms provided to them by other people.
Persons should take caution in trying to execute their own powers of attorney. There is an old saying “you get what you pay for”. Errors as to form can ultimately costs that person’s estate considerable fees and expense if the home-made mandate is not legal or unclear.
If you have any questions, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.
-Kent S. DeJean