Can You Have a Dual Power of Attorney With Two Acting Agents?

By Heather Frances J.D.

A power of attorney for finances is a document that gives someone – your agent – the right to act on your behalf, but sometimes it’s helpful to have two agents acting for you instead of one. State laws governing powers of attorney vary. Multiple agents who can act together are generally permitted, but some states, like Florida, allow co-agents to act independently of each other unless the power of attorney document specifies otherwise.

General vs. Limited Authority

Powers of attorney can give to an agent very broad, general authority to accomplish almost any task or they can grant limited authority to the agent to accomplish only a few specified tasks. For example, a general power of attorney might give an agent power to accomplish all financial tasks on behalf of the principal -- the person granting the powers -- but a limited power of attorney might only give an agent authority to pay specific bills or access a certain bank account.

Joint Power of Attorney

You can require your agents to act together, making all decisions jointly, which requires your agents to come to agreement before either can act. For example, if you have granted them the authority to write checks on your behalf, you can also require that both agents must sign each check. This type of power of attorney provides a limit on each agent’s independent authority, but may also prohibit agents from acting at all if they can’t reach agreement.

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Concurrent Power of Attorney

A concurrent power of attorney allows your agents to act independently of each other. Under this type of power of attorney, each agent has full authority at any time to exercise all powers granted under the power of attorney document. This independence allows agents to act more efficiently, but it can get confusing if, for example, both agents are writing checks on the same account.

Resolving Disputes

Your agents may not always agree under a joint power of attorney and may not consult with each other under a concurrent power of attorney. To avoid potential problems, you can include provisions for dispute resolution in the power of attorney document. If your power of attorney does not address disputes, your agents could be forced to go to court if there is a disagreement.

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What if My Agent Wants Off the Dual Power of Attorney After I'm Incompetent?


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A power of attorney is a legal document that gives to another person, your agent or attorney-in-fact, authority to make decisions for you and act on your behalf. Powers of attorney can be very broad, allowing your agent to do many things for you, or they can be limited, just giving your agent authority to do one specific act. Since the document itself gives your agent his power, you must ensure the power of attorney describes exactly what powers you are giving to your agent.

How to Obtain Power of Attorney in MA

A power of attorney is an instrument signed by one person, known as the principal, authorizing another, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to sign documents and/or perform actions on her behalf. The authority granted under a power of attorney can be broad or narrowly limited, depending on the intent. If you have been asked to be an attorney-in-fact for someone in Massachusetts, know that the appointment carries great responsibility to act in a trustworthy manor and in the best interest of the principal who appointed you.

What Happens if Two People on a Power of Attorney Disagree?

When a person, known as the principal, creates a financial or medical power of attorney, she may name two agents and state whether the agents can act alone or must act together as co-agents. If co-agents can't agree, what happens next depends on whether the principal is incapacitated or able to make decisions.

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