Can Two People Have the Power of Attorney for the Same Person?

By Marie Murdock

When making a power of attorney, a principal may name two trusted friends or family members as her attorneys-in-fact, or persons appointed to act on her behalf. One reason may be in case one of the named individuals becomes unable or unwilling to act. Another uses the theory that “two heads are better than one” when it comes to making important decisions that may be required under a power of attorney.

Joint

The power of attorney may name two attorneys-in-fact, stating that both are to act in concert. In this case, every document signed using the power of attorney will have to be signed by both attorneys-in-fact. Attorneys may have differing opinions as to whether this is a good business practice. Some may fear potential disagreements between the attorneys-in-fact, while others may favor the checks and balances in handling the principal’s affairs as a way to prevent waste of assets.

Successor

A power of attorney may name two people where one is primary attorney-in-fact with sole and complete power to act for the principal in all transactions. The second person may only be a successor attorney-in-fact in the event the primary is unable or unwilling to act.

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Duplicate - General

A person may execute a new general power of attorney and through negligence or oversight, fail to revoke the first. A power of attorney may be revoked either by written revocation or by language in the new power of attorney that it revokes all previous ones. Even if there is revocation language in the new power of attorney, it may still be wise to notify all parties affected of the revocation. Unless the first one is revoked, there will be two active powers of attorney, leaving the door open for future problems.

Duplicate - Limited

A principal may execute two limited, specific powers of attorney naming a different attorney-in-fact for each and authorizing different powers for each person. For example, if a principal has two daughters who live in two different states where the principal owns property, she may choose to designate the first as attorney-in-fact over all real estate transactions that take place in her state of residence. The other daughter may be appointed to act as attorney-in-fact over all real estate transactions taking place in the other state.

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How to Obtain Power of Attorney in MA
 

References

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