What is Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document in which a principal appoints an agent to act on the principal’s behalf. The “Principal” is the person who has executed the Power of Attorney and appoints an “Agent” to act for him. The “Agent” is the person appointed to act on behalf of the “Principal.”


After January 1, 2015, all Powers of Attorney executed in Pennsylvania must contain a notice signed by Principal, an Agent Acknowledgement, be witnessed by two witnesses and be notarized. Lenders may have additional requirements and/or language for the use of a POA.

If this Acknowledgement is not signed, the “Agent” has no power to act for the “Principal”, i.e., may not sign a deed, mortgage, etc.


All powers granted under the POA must be specified.  No powers are implied. The POA must specifically give the “Agent” authority to handle real estate matters.  The authority can be specific and include language such as “To sell real estate owned by the Principal” and may include specific addresses.  The authority can be general and simply state that the “Agent” has the ability to engage in real property transactions.

In order to utilize a military POA, a written statement from the “Principal’s” commanding officer must be obtained verifying that the “Principal” is currently on active duty.


A Power of Attorney will expire by any of the following:

  • The date specified in the POA
  • By the death of the “Principal”
  • By divorce of the “Principal,” if the “Agent” named in the POA is the “Principal’s” spouse
  • By disability, incapacity, or deceased of “Principal” if the POA is not durable
  • By revocation by guardian of “Principal” appointed by court subsequent to the POA
  • By death or disability of the “Agent” if no successor is named.