Are there certain things that a power of attorney can't include?

When people think of some types of contracts like prenuptial agreements or power of attorneys (POAs), they often get the impression that they can include virtually anything in them. They often think that so long as the person drafting it or agreeing to the terms is willing to sign it, it will seen as legally enforceable. This is far from the case, though.

While POAs can be used to give someone else a tremendous amount of leeway to make both personal and financial decisions in the life of someone they care about, there are limitations to what can be included in them.

One of the great things about POAs is that they can give a person appointed to carry out the role of agent any range of powers from very narrow to more broad ones.

When it comes to a financial-oriented POA, it can be written to give an agent liberal access to a principal's bank account to the extent that it's necessary to provide for housing needs, health care and other expenses.

These types of POAs can be drafted to allow the agent to make investment decisions also. A person appointed to this role may be authorized to collect debts or apply for government benefits such Medicaid on the principal's behalf.

A health care proxy type of POA allows the appointed agent an option to choose the medical providers the principal sees. They also can be authorized to decide what types of treatments an individual receives and make decisions regarding what type of living arrangements may be most appropriate for them.

POAs must always act in the best interest of the principal, a concept that's referred to as upholding their fiduciary duty.

Certain actions a POA is not authorized to make include changing a principal's will or managing his or her affairs after he or she has died. The only situation in which the latter can occur is if the principal either dies without having a will in place or appoints him or her to the role of executor of their estate.

A POA is nontransferable and cannot be modified either.

If you're looking to draft a POA, then having an Ownesboro attorney on hand can ensure that it's done in a way that ensures it can be legally upheld.

Source:, "Things You Can and Can't Do With Power of Attorney," Anne-Marie Botek, accessed June 01, 2018

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