Can a Power of Attorney Take Money?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When you give someone a power of attorney to accomplish tasks on your behalf, you make that person your agent, and his actions have the same legal authority as if you had taken those same actions. For example, if you give your agent authority to access your bank accounts, he can take money from the account. However, your agent has a legal duty to act in your best interests, so he can’t use the money for his own benefit.

Types of Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney that give financial authority to your agent can be general or limited. A general power of attorney gives your agent broad authority to perform many tasks on your behalf. A limited power of attorney only gives your agent power to do one or two limited things for you. For example, you can give your agent power to access one specific bank account or all of your accounts. Regardless of the type of power of attorney, your agent has the same responsibility to act in your best interests.


Your agent is not allowed to exercise any authority – financial or otherwise – beyond what you assigned to him in the power-of-attorney document. If you didn’t give him authority to take money, he cannot do so. If you did give him authority to take money, he must only take the money for your benefit, not his own.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now


Agents are generally allowed to reimburse themselves – or receive reimbursement from you – for out-of-pocket expenses they incur while acting on your behalf. These expenses usually must be considered reasonable, and you can place a limit on the amount or type of expenses for which your agent may receive reimbursement. You can also require your agent to provide proof of his expenditures, such as receipts.

Abuse of Authority

If your agent has acted outside of his authority or on his own behalf, you can withdraw the power of attorney, thereby removing his authority to act for you; you also may be able to sue the agent to recover any money he may have taken. If you suspect an agent is stealing from a principal by abusing the authority granted to him under a power of attorney, you may wish to file a lawsuit on the principal’s behalf. Sometimes, an agent’s abuse of authority may constitute crimes such as forgery, larceny or fraud. If so, your local law enforcement agency may be able to help.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
What Is Financial Power of Attorney Abuse?


Related articles

Can a Person With Power of Attorney for Another Profit From the Sale of a House?

A power of attorney is created when a person -- the principal -- creates a document giving authority to a third party – the agent – to accomplish tasks on his behalf. The agent’s authority can be very broad or narrowed to just one area. When an agent has authority to sell the principal’s home, he must act in the principal’s best interests.

Can the Power of Attorney Add Signers to Bank Accounts?

You may use a financial power of attorney to grant a trusted agent authority to act in your place in financial matters. The terms of this legal document describe the extent of the authority it confers. While a general form would allow your agent to add signatories to your bank accounts, you can tailor the authority as you wish.

How to Fill Out a General Power of Attorney

You must fill out a general power of attorney correctly. If you make mistakes, you might give your agent powers you don't want her to have, omit powers you do want to give her or end up with a useless document. You are the principal, the person giving authority, and your agent is the person you're allowing to act in your place. A general power of attorney allows your agent to act for you in various matters, including bank transactions and property sales. You can get a fill-in general power of attorney form at an office supply store or legal document store in your area. The fill-in form already has all the words your state requires for a valid power of attorney.

Related articles

Can a Power of Attorney Make Themselves a Joint Owner of a Bank Account?

A power of attorney gives your agent – the person you name – the ability to do something for you, such as pay bills ...

Can a Power of Attorney Charge Expenses?

When you are unable or unavailable to accomplish certain tasks, such as accessing your bank accounts, you may need an ...

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

A power of attorney for finances is a document that gives someone – your agent – the right to act on your behalf, but ...

What Happens if a Power of Attorney Misuses Money?

A power of attorney for finances allows you to appoint someone else — your agent — to accomplish financial tasks on ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED