Where Should I Keep My Power of Attorney?

The person that executes a power of attorney is called the Principal. The Principal should always keep the original document in their possession. Many times third parties will request the original power of attorney. The original document should not be given to a third party because an original document cannot be replaced. It is alright for the third party to get a copy or a true copy of the power of attorney.

The Principal should also not give the original document or copies of this document to the appointed agent. The reason this practice is discouraged is that it is possible that the Principal may later change their mind. A power of attorney may be renounced by tearing it up. It may be impossible to tear up an original document that is given away and it will be difficult to retrieve copies of powers of attorney given away.

Ideally, an original power of attorney should be kept in the home of the Principal preferably in a fireproof safe. The agent should have access to obtain this original in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated. It is not recommended to keep original powers of attorney in a bank safety deposit box or with an attorney. If the Principal becomes incapacitated and an emergency develops on a weekend or holiday, the agent may not be able to obtain the original quickly.

If a person has any questions or concerns about a power of attorney, they should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.