Which jurisdictions have databases of powers of attorney documents?
January 30, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Which jurisdictions have databases of powers of attorney documents?

In Arizona, for instance, there is a voluntary public directory of powers of attorney documents. Where else are there similar databases (both American and non-American)? Bonus points if you can point to the relevant authorizing legislation.
posted by modernnomad to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Actually, those aren't technically "power of attorney" documents as such, at least not as most people understand the term. They're "advance directives." This generally includes a limited power of attorney, but this is usually limited to making decisions regarding the provision of health care. It does not generally extend to the authority to make any and all legal decisions on the signatory's behalf, particularly the disposition of property. So these databases are really intended to serve as a central repository for health care providers to check when they've got a patient who can't make their own decisions and they've got someone other than the patient trying to make those decisions. A properly registered advance directive will clear that mess up right away.

There are other forms of power of attorney though. For example, if you trade in a car when you buy another one, you probably sign a power of attorney permitting the dealer to dispose of the trade in as part of the deal paperwork. Those things may get filed with DOT/BMV/DMV, but they're of limited interest. But there are plenty of contexts where one person wishes to give another the authority to dispose of property, and there tends not to be any kind of database for these sorts of documents.

But as to advance directive databases, more and more states are creating such things. A quick Google search yields results. I see Virginia, Vermont, and Montana, just on the first page.
posted by valkyryn at 9:28 AM on January 30, 2013

But no, I'm not aware of any list which indicates which states have such databases and which don't.
posted by valkyryn at 9:29 AM on January 30, 2013

I mentioned power of attorney as a broad category because in Queensland, Australia, for instance, there is a database of powers of attorney documents that relate to land, but not to enduring directives re: health. For the purposes of the question I am interested in anything that might fall under a power of attorney rubric, including advance health directives.
posted by modernnomad at 10:01 AM on January 30, 2013

I can't imagine that any comprehensive directory of this stuff exists, when you consider the broad range of things people obtain powers of attorney for. My husband signed a power of attorney designating me as his attorney in fact when we refinanced our house and he couldn't be there at closing. There's no law in Oregon requiring that to be recorded -- I just showed it to the lender, who made a photocopy, and started signing things.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:38 PM on January 30, 2013

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