How Much Power of Attorney Should You Give to Your Attorney-in-Fact?

One of the most important considerations in creating a power of attorney is how much power you must grant your attorney-in-fact or agent to protect your properties, finances, and interests from abuse.

Since the courts do not regulate powers of attorney other than what it is in the actual document, the powers may be misused by an attorney-in-fact. As a principal you must carefully choose the powers you are going to give to your agent.

You have to decide one or more of the following tasks that your attorney-in-fact will carry out on your behalf from time to time:

There are two paths when deciding how much authority you are going to allow your agent.

As the term implies, limited powers of attorney grant limited and specific control of an attorney-in-fact over the estate of the principal.

With such type of power of attorney, a principal can prepare for certain situations without giving full authority to his or her agent. In this type of document the agent lists the explicit authority they give their agent. Your choice depends on what aspects of your life need overseen when you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

General powers of attorney provide more authority to an attorney-in-fact than the limited type.

The agent enjoys the same amount of privileges and access to the assets of the principal as they would themselves. The agent, for example, can decide where your money and investments will go as well as the kind of nursing home where you will stay.

In either case, your attorney-in-fact will be in charge of certain aspects of your life if you become mentally incapacitated. It is crucial to appoint someone who is worthy of your trust.

Consult with an attorney about the need for and structure of a power of attorney today. Get started »

Planning ahead is a gift to your loved ones!