What Much Control Does a Power of Attorney Hold?

Appointing a power of attorney to help you make decisions for yourself might be in the cards for your future. You might be wondering how much control the power of attorney might have, what they can have control over, or simply what a power of attorney entails. Continue reading to discover answers to these questions and more. A power of attorney is used to assist those who cannot make decisions for themselves. It is important to understand that a power of attorney can only have as much power as you give them. For example, they may have power over one area of your life such as your end-of-life care or your finances. It all will depend on the amount of power you want to give to this trusted individual.

Reach out to our firm today to discuss the options you have regarding appointing a power of attorney and what it might look like for your specific situation. We are here to help walk you through this process.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the broad legal authority or limited authority to make decisions on an individual’s (also known as the principal) behalf regarding their property, finances, and medical care. A power of attorney is typically appointed to help individuals when they are unable to make decisions for themselves. The principal puts trust into the power of attorney agent. The agent acts on behalf of the principal by having control over specific responsibilities. The agent is appointed to carry out the principal’s wishes.

What does a power of attorney have control over?

The amount of control the agent has over the principal depends on the amount of power they are appointed. It may be possible for an agent to conduct financial actions such as executing contracts, filing taxes, and borrowing money. Each responsibility the agent has control over is at the discretion of the principal. The amount of control an agent has will vary by person. For instance, the agent may have limited or broad power. Some agents might handle one situation while others might face multiple matters.

Some of the responsibilities a financial POA can cover include the following:

  • Collect the principal’s debts
  • Manage the principal’s property
  • File taxes on behalf of the principal
  • Apply for public benefits for the principal
  • Make investment decisions on behalf of the principal
  • Access the principal’s financial accounts to pay for bills, health care, and housing needs

What can’t a POA do?

An agent cannot do the following actions:

  • Change a principal’s will
  • Change or transfer POA to someone else. 
  • Break their fiduciary duty to act in the principal’s best interest
  • Make decisions on behalf of the principal after their death. POA ends with the death of the principal. 

Contact our experienced Montgomery County, Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.