How Long Does It Take To Get Power Of Attorney?

The Process of Obtaining Power of Attorney

When family members or friends are unable to manage their own financial, legal and health care decisions, they may be granted Power of Attorney (POA). A POA gives an individual legal authority to act on behalf of another person, usually referred to as the principal. The document is legally binding in most countries and carries a great deal of responsibility. It is therefore important to understand the implications of a POA and how long it may take to obtain one.

  • Principal’s understanding and consent: The principal must understand the implications of granting powers of attorney and provide written consent for the POA. In some cases, the principal may be required to have a medical evaluation by a physician prior to granting the POA.
  • Researching local laws and obtaining forms: Research the laws in the jurisdiction and determine what forms are required to complete the POA. Choose an appropriate form that complies with local laws and is tailored to the specific situation.
  • Filing with appropriate court or government office: Once the forms have been completed, they must be signed by the principal, the attorney-in-fact, and any witnesses as required by law. The completed forms must then be filed with the appropriate court or government office.

Timeline for Obtaining Power of Attorney

The time frame for obtaining a POA will depend primarily on the local laws in the jurisdiction. It may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete the process.

  • Varies by jurisdiction: The timeline for obtaining a POA can vary depending on the laws in the jurisdiction in which the principal resides.
  • Notarization or registration may be required: Some jurisdictions require the documents to be notarized or registered before they become legally binding.
  • Longer time frame for distant POA: If a POA is being sought from a distance, it may take several weeks to obtain the documents and have them signed, notarized and returned.

Obtaining Power of Attorney in an Emergency Situation

In some cases, a POA may become necessary in an emergency situation.

  • Importance of having POA documents ready: It is important to act quickly to ensure that all required documents are completed and filed in a timely manner.
  • Example of Elvira’s story: The story of Elvira, a retired woman from Spain, illustrates the importance of having a POA in place in an emergency situation. Elvira was in a severe car accident and was unable to make decisions for herself. Although her children had POA documents, they were unable to present them to the hospital in time to help her make medical decisions. Without the POA documents, Elvira’s children had no legal authority to make medical decisions on her behalf. In the end, Elvira was able to receive the medical care she needed, but her situation could have been avoided if her children had the POA documents in their possession.


In summary, obtaining a POA can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the laws in the jurisdiction. It is important to research the laws and understand the implications of granting power of attorney. In an emergency situation, it is crucial to have the POA documents in place prior to a crisis in order to ensure that the principal is able to receive the care they need. The story of Elvira highlights the importance of having the documents ready in case of an emergency. It is important to note that obtaining a POA is a serious matter and should be done with the help of legal professionals to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the rights of the principal are protected.

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