State laws establish the rights that you have to appoint others to enter into legal financial agreements or transactions on your behalf. In North Dakota, you may appoint a third party as your attorney-in-fact to enter into financial transactions for you. If you give another person a financial power of attorney, you are the principal. If someone gives you the power, you are the attorney-in-fact or the agent.
A financial power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact or agent to make financial decisions. It is not the same thing as a healthcare power of attorney or advanced healthcare directive. Your attorney-in-fact may not make medical or healthcare decisions for you without a separate document authorizing him to do so. A financial power of attorney only allows your agent to make financial decisions — not healthcare decisions. You can also amend, rescind or revoke your financial power of attorney document any time you want.
Under North Dakota law, a power of attorney document must be in writing to become valid. An oral power of attorney is invalid and legally null. To provide a third party with a financial power of attorney, you should speak with our office. Our office can help you understand the legal elements required for a valid financial power of attorney form.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you understand the differences between a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney, which is subject to the North Dakota Century Code. You may actually need both types of documents, and a qualified attorney can draft both of these documents for you. You may need a financial power of attorney if you need assistance with your daily financial affairs. You will need a medical or healthcare power of attorney if you would like to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become mentally unable to make those decisions.