What Can a Person Do with a Power of Attorney?

What Can a Person Do with a Power of Attorney?

August 24, 2020

Having a power of attorney is a normal part of an estate plan, but before you assign one (or accept one), you should know exactly what they can and cannot do. Powers of attorney are designed to act on behalf of the assignee, so if, for example, your father assigns you power of attorney, you might be able to make medical or financial decisions when he is unable to do so himself. Read on to learn what you need to know about the power of attorney role in Miami, FL.


A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to make legal, financial or medical decisions for the principal. This is usually assigned when someone is making their estate plan, but it can also be used in business and other circumstances when having an incapacitated partner would be difficult. The power of attorney can sign off on decisions that the incapacitated partner cannot, whether that’s to pursue a type of medical treatment or to handle financial decisions while the person is out of the country.

Know the difference between the two types

There are two major types of power of attorney: medical and financial.

Your medical power of attorney can oversee your healthcare decisions when you cannot make those choices on your own. For example, if you suffer an incident where you aren’t expected to survive, your power of attorney could review your healthcare directive and remove life support according to your instructions. They can also authorize surgeries and other procedures, psychiatric care, home health care, who takes care of the principal and more.

Financial powers of attorney can handle business and financial affairs, including paying bills while someone is incapacitated, making business decisions, depositing checks and more. When you designate a financial power of attorney, you are basically assigning someone to take care of any and all of your finances.

What a power of attorney cannot do

The most important part of a power of attorney is that they can carry out decisions in your stead—but the law limits them from using their powers of attorney in Miami, FL to carry out decisions that you wouldn’t normally approve. For example, a power of attorney cannot change your will, nor can they (legally) manipulate your finances for their own gain.

Powers of attorney are also not allowed to make decisions after the principal’s death unless otherwise specified in the will, and they cannot transfer the power of attorney to someone else.

When choosing your power of attorney, keep in mind that they have a lot of control over your life when you’re incapacitated—make sure you choose someone that you not only trust, but whom you know can advocate for you properly. The better the choice you make, the better results you’ll have.

If you’re considering assigning a power of attorney or creating estate planning documents in Miami, FL, make sure to call Ruben J. Padron, PA. We can help you come up with a secure and legal plan.

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