Guidelines for Assuming Power of Attorney

By Elizabeth Rayne

Becoming an agent through a power of attorney is an important undertaking since it involves managing the affairs of another person. Several considerations must be taken into account by the principal when drafting a POA and limiting the actions an agent may take, including designating the triggering event for when the agent takes over the principal's affairs, the breadth of the agent's authority, and under what circumstances the agent's powers terminate.

Overview

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes a person, known as an agent, to carry out the affairs of another person, known as the principal. The principal may limit the extent of the agent's authority and the circumstances under which the agent may act. The principal may draft the POA to give broad authority or limit it to one type of transaction, such as banking, real estate or health care. For example, a POA may be limited to buying a house or filing taxes. Similarly, a POA may be limited to financial matters or it may allow an agent to make decisions about a principal's health care.

Springing Power of Attorney

While a principal may draft a POA so that it is immediately effective, another option is a springing POA. With the latter, the agent is not authorized to act until a specific event occurs, such as when the principal cannot be present for a certain transaction or becomes incapacitated. The POA may specify when the principal is considered to be incapacitated, which typically occurs when a doctor has determined that the principal is incompetent. Conversely, if the POA allows, an agent may simply sign an affidavit, stating that the principal is incompetent.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Agent's Duties

In assuming power as an agent under a POA, you may only undertake duties assigned by the principal. The agent is limited to acting as provided under the POA, whether it be limited to specific transactions or to general financial, health care or end-of-life duties. Moreover, as an agent, you must maintain records of all transactions you complete for the principal, and you must always act in good faith. Certain actions may be prohibited by state law, such as making gifts to anyone with the principal's property.

Termination

A POA may be terminated for a number of reasons. The agreement is voluntary, meaning that the principal may revoke the POA at any time when she is lucid and of sound mind. Moreover, a POA is automatically terminated when the principal dies or at a time specified in the agreement. A principal may specify that an agent's authority ends after a certain transaction is complete, or if the principal becomes incapacitated. If the principal is your spouse, a POA may automatically end upon filing for divorce.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
Iowa Power of Attorney Rules
 

References

Related articles

Power of Attorney Vs. Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) legally assigns authority to an agent to act on your behalf in matters that you specify within the document. There are different types of Powers of Attorney that provide agents with varying scopes of authority. However, you can draft any type of power of attorney to be durable. A durable power of attorney automatically extends the duration of the POA in the event you are mentally incompetent at the time it will expire.

How to Write a Special Power of Attorney Letter

Writing a special power of attorney letter allows you to legally assign your authority to make personal and financial decisions to another person or organization, commonly referred to as your agent. In contrast to a general power of attorney that is broad in its assignment of power, a special power of attorney limits your agent’s authority to the specific transactions you include in the document.

North Dakota Power of Attorney Laws

In North Dakota, you have the option of creating a power of attorney, or POA, to give another person the authority to act on your behalf when it comes to financial matters. These financial matters could include anything from that can access your bank accounts, who can pay bills or who can purchase or sell property. Under North Dakota law, the authority you grant may be as broad or as specific as you like, and you always have the option of revoking this authority at any time.

Power of Attorney

Related articles

Is Power of Attorney Valid After Death?

If you wish to give another person the authority to make important decisions and act on your behalf, you may draw up a ...

Medical Situations That Require a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

The ability to consent to or refuse medical treatment is a fundamental right afforded to you under the law. If you lose ...

What Is a Revocable Power of Attorney Form?

A revocable power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that appoints an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to handle ...

Can a Power of Attorney Be Non-Durable & Non-Revocable at the Same Time?

A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that grants another person the authority to manage finances on your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED