Close this search box.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney and IRS Form 2848

Print Article

A broad durable financial power of attorney typically intends to give your agent the ability to act on your behalf in just about any setting other than medical decision making. However, the IRS, and some financial institutions, will only accept their own power of attorney form for you to appoint an agent.

Springing or Surviving?

A financial power of attorney can be either springing or surviving. Springing means that your agent can act on your behalf only if you are unable to act. Your power of attorney should clearly define what it means for you to be unable to act. This can include your incapacity, disability or disappearance. This definition should also include what is needed to prove your inability to act. Springing financial powers of attorney generally require a doctor’s report confirming the principal’s incapacity before the agent can act.

A surviving financial power of attorney is immediately effective upon executing the document. We frequently recommend people choose to create a surviving power of attorney. The surviving power of attorney allows your agent to act more quickly in an emergency. Requiring a doctor’s report could delay your agent’s ability to pay your bills or get you the care you need.

A Broad Financial Power of Attorney

Having a financial power of attorney with broad powers allows your agent to assist you in future emergencies you may be unable to predict.

A broad financial power of attorney will also give your agent the power to prepare your federal and state income and gift tax returns. It would also generally allow your agent to represent you before the IRS in tax matters. But will this meet the IRS requirements? Not without a listing of specific tax years in which your agent can act on your behalf.

IRS Form 2848 Power of Attorney

The IRS Form 2848 allows you to designate a power of attorney for purposes of dealing with the IRS on specific matters. Your representative must be an attorney, certified public accountant, enrolled agent, officer, full-time employee, family member, enrolled actuary, unenrolled return preparer, qualifying student or law graduate or an enrolled retirement plan agent. But you do not need to use the IRS Form 2848 for your financial power of attorney to represent you on tax matters.

Substitute Form 2848 Power of Attorney

The IRS will allow you to use a power of attorney other than the form 2848 if it meets the requirements under 26 CFR 601.503(a). The power of attorney must contain: the name and mailing address of the taxpayer, the identification number of the taxpayer, the employee plan number (if applicable), the name and mailing address of the recognized representative(s), a description of authorized matters and a clear expression of the taxpayer’s intention. The description of authorized matters must include: the type of tax involved, the Federal tax form number, the specific years involved and, in estate matters, the decedent’s date of death.

Other Financial Institutions

After you execute a new financial power of attorney, you should present it to your bank and other financial institutions to make sure they will accept it. Even if your power of attorney is legally valid, they may have additional requirements or require that you use their own power of attorney form. They may only accept powers of attorney executed in the last five years. They may only accept powers of attorney witnessed by two individuals and notarized, even if that is not required by the law in your state.


You will want to make sure your bank accepts your durable financial power of attorney and it meets the IRS requirements. If either institution does not accept the document, even if it is legally valid, you may want to create a new one.

Stay up to date

Subscribe to our Newsletter to get our takes on some of the situations families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities find themselves in. These posts help guide you in the decision making process and point out helpful tips and nuances to take advantage of. Enter your email below to have our entries sent directly to your inbox!

Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

Famous people's wills

Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.