What is a POA agent allowed (and not allowed) to do?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2023 | Estate Planning

Do you or a loved one need a POA (power of attorney)? Or is someone giving you their POA? A POA is a document that grants an individual authority over another person’s financial or medical matters. It can take effect immediately or when someone becomes incapacitated.

There are specific rules POAs need to abide by so they will not abuse their power. Here are some of them below.

What can someone with a power of attorney do?

Depending on whether the power of attorney grants the POA authority over the grantor’s medical or financial matters, the POA is allowed to do the following:

  • Aid someone in running a business: If a business owner experiences an event that makes it impossible for them to continue running a business, a POA agent can either take over. It is common for one business partner, for example, to give the other their POA for their business decisions in case they are incapacitated for any length of time.
  • Access the grantor’s funds and pay their bills: For example, if the grantor is in for a long hospital stay, their POA can make sure their rent is paid, their pets have care and so on.
  • Handle medical decisions: This is particularly common in end-of-life situations where the person with the grantor’s medical POA has to make decisions about their care.

What can’t someone with a power of attorney do?

A POA agent cannot act beyond the scope of their authority. For example:

  • Change a person’s estate plan: A POA agent does not have permission to change the grantor’s will or trust, even if they think the grantor would approve of the changes. 
  • Ignore the grantor’s wishes. Sometimes, relatives oppose their loved one’s wishes due to personal or religious beliefs. Regardless, a POA agent needs to stand firm in their obligations to the grantor.

If you have any questions regarding POA matters, including how they work and what obligations and rights you may have, consider reaching out for experienced legal guidance.