What Powers Can I Grant to My Attorney-in-Fact?

The permissions and limitations you can give to your agent

A Power of Attorney document allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them for yourself. This person becomes your attorney-in-fact, also known as an agent or personal representative.
You may choose one agent to manage all of your affairs, or you can appoint several agents to manage different aspects of your estate. If you’re incapacitated, agents can sign documents, make payments, deposit money, and more.
Agents have considerable power over your affairs, so there are many things to think about when creating your Power of Attorney document. Who will manage your business, property, or investments when you are unable to do so? And what decisions do you want them to make?

What types of powers can I give to my agent?

Outline the capabilities you’d like your agent to have and apply certain restrictions within your Power of Attorney document. For example, you can grant permissions and apply restrictions in the following areas of your estate:
Real Estate
Grant real estate powers such as the ability to buy, sell, rent, or trade property in your name, including rental properties and land titles.
Restrict real estate powers by allowing your representative to manage all of your properties except one. Alternatively, you could restrict them from selling a certain piece of land, renting out a home, or buying additional property.
Business
If you grant business-related powers to your agent, you’re allowing them to run your business or act for you as a shareholder. They’ll be able to make decisions about your investments, employees, and budgets. They could also represent you during any meetings or litigation matters.
A restriction on this type of power would be to limit the amount your agent can invest in the business, or whether or not they can hire new employees.
Finance
An agent with permission to act in financial matters can make payments, transfer funds, cash checks, and control your banking interests. This power may include access to savings and checking accounts as well as investments, such as mutual funds.
You may restrict your agent’s financial control with a spending limit or with access to certain accounts only.
Insurance
You can grant your representative power to control, change, or otherwise alter your insurance policies. These policies can cover your business, home, life, and annuity.
Although, you may wish to restrict these powers by allowing your attorney-in-fact to cash your annuity check but forbidding any changes to your current insurance policies.
Legal
Your representative can act on your behalf in any and all legal claims or litigation matters, such as a lawsuit or a legal dispute. Though, a restriction may be for them to represent you in current cases but not future ones.
Family Care
Family care responsibilities can include managing costs for education, maintenance, and medical care for yourself and/or your loved ones.
A restriction could be limiting your representative’s responsibilities to your children’s well being, excluding your spouse.
Living Trust
Living Trust responsibilities allow your agent to manage the assets transferred to any Living Trust that you control.
Although, it’s possible to restrict this power so that your representative can transfer assets to one trust but not another.
Employ Required Professionals
This power allows your representative to hire professionals to care for you or your family. This hired help could include a lawyer, caregiver, accountant, or any other type of professional that can assist you or your family.
However, you could limit your representative by allowing them to hire professionals for certain matters, such as accounting, but not health care.

Additional Powers

LawDepot’s Power of Attorney template allows you to include additional powers, such as power over:

  • Tax responsibilities
  • Government benefits
  • Retirement plans and benefits
  • Buying, selling, or exchanging personal items
  • Providing gifts to family members or friends
  • Donating to charities
Create your Power of Attorney

What is general authority?

In many cases, people grant their agents general authority. With general authority, your agent has the power to act on your behalf in all of the matters above and anything else that may arise.
It’s important to note that you can restrict some of the powers granted under the umbrella of general authority. For instance, you might grant general authority to someone you trust but who doesn’t have a lot of business sense. In this case, you might give them power to act over most areas of your estate, but you name another individual to handle your business transactions separately.
Note: No matter what powers you include, your agent cannot make health care decisions for you (unless they’re also your Health Care Proxy) or transfer custody of your children.
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