Powers of attorney: do we have to provide an original copy?

My wife has a "power of attorney" letter that gives her the power to sign for her mother, an Alzheimer's patient in a nursing home. When trying to sell her mother's home, the closing agents have requested an "Original Copy" that they will place on file. If we do this, what do we do if we need to use it again – as I'm sure we will?
Most Durable Powers of Attorney indicate a copy is just as valid as the original, according to estate planning attorney Greg Bonney. The statutory Power of Attorney form in Wisconsin states: "I agree that any 3rd party who receives a copy of this document may act under it."

If the Power of Attorney has such language, the closing agent should accept a copy as a valid document. If not, hopefully they will just take a copy of the original after observing the original.

"If they want something more, I would suggest giving them a copy and attaching an Affidavit certifying it is a true and correct copy of the original document and is still in full force and effect," said Bonney. "I would suggest doing what you can to avoid giving up the original document."

For more information on estate planning in Wisconsin, contact us at (608) 784-5678.

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