When thinking about your future, it’s essential to plan for unexpected events. One important aspect of this planning is understanding what a Power of Attorney (POA) can and can’t do.

A POA is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself. This legal authority can range from managing your finances to making healthcare decisions.

However, it’s essential to know the boundaries of this power. Not all POAs grant the same authority, and there are limitations to what a Power of Attorney can do.

In this blog, we’ll explain the duties of POAs, clarify their specific powers, and outline what they can’t do. A better understanding of POAs will ensure you can make informed decisions about your future and effectively protect your interests.

Let’s understand the complexities of POAs together!

Defining the Scope of a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf. That being said, the scope of a POA can vary widely.

It can be broad, granting your attorney the ability to handle all your financial matters, or it can be limited to specific tasks, like managing a particular bank account or selling property. Clearly defining the scope ensures that your attorney only has the powers you intend to give.

Moreover, keep in mind that a General Power of Attorney is meant for a shorter time frame and only stays valid while you still have mental capacity. If you’re planning for your future, you’ll need to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, which safeguards your assets and wishes even if you become incapacitated. By understanding these boundaries, you can protect your interests and ensure that your wishes are followed precisely. If you’re unsure what a Power of Attorney can do and which type would be best, consult our legal experts at Zenco now.

Financial Decisions: What Can a POA Do

A Power of Attorney for financial decisions or an LPA for property and finance allows your appointed attorney to manage your financial affairs. This attorney would then carry out tasks, including paying bills, managing bank accounts, filing taxes, and handling investments.

Your attorney can also buy or sell property, make business decisions, and manage real estate transactions. Essentially, they can take care of any financial tasks you specify in the POA or LPA document.

They have the freedom to act as the donor would act on their own wishes, unless expressly advised otherwise. By understanding these capabilities, you’ll ensure the smooth management of your finances if you’re unable to handle them yourself.

Medical and Personal Care Limits

A health and welfare LPA or a Power of Attorney for medical and personal care decisions allows your appointed attorney to make healthcare choices if you can’t. Their decisions could include choices about treatments, surgeries, medications, and long-term care.

However, there are some limits to it. Your attorney can’t override your living will or make decisions that contradict your stated wishes. They also can’t consent to experimental treatments or anything illegal. Additionally, the POA doesn’t cover non-medical personal decisions unless explicitly stated.

By clearly outlining your preferences, you can ensure that your attorney respects your healthcare wishes and understands the boundaries of their authority. This will provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

What a Power of Attorney Can’t Do

While a Power of Attorney grants significant authority, there are clear limits to what it can’t do.

Your attorney can’t make decisions after your death, change your will, or act against your best interests. They can’t make decisions beyond the scope defined in the POA or LPA document or engage in illegal or unethical activities. Our Property & Finance LPA is drafted with instructions that attorneys can transfer investments to discretionary management schemes instead.

By understanding these limitations, you can ensure that your wishes are protected and your attorney acts within the legal boundaries. This will give you clarity and security for your future planning.

Common Misunderstandings and How to Avoid Them

There are many misunderstandings about Powers of Attorney that can lead to complications.

One common misconception is that a POA remains valid after the person granting it becomes incapacitated; however, this isn’t always the case. An LPA can protect your interests if you lose mental capacity. Another is assuming that all POAs are the same when, in fact, they vary in scope and authority.

It’s important to carefully read and understand the POA document to avoid misunderstandings and clarify any uncertainties with legal advice if needed. 

Additionally, by regularly reviewing and updating the POA as circumstances change, you can ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and provides clear guidance for your chosen attorney.

To Set Up a Power of Attorney Online, Contact Zenco

Do you need more clarity on what a Power of Attorney can do and what its limitations are? Our legal experts are here to explain the ins and outs of this document and guide you through the process of setting it up.

At Zenco Legal, we aim to make legal services easily accessible to everyone. 

Whether you’re looking to appoint a power of attorney, write a will, or set up a trust, our legal professionals can offer you the support and guidance you need. We’ll help you ensure that you remain in control of your future. For more information on our services, check out our guides or book an appointment now.

Mickey Evans