Things You Can & Cannot Do with Power of Attorney

Just like with most legal processes, the acquisition and enforcement of a power of attorney can be confusing. However, it can help individuals, families, and businesses in creating a solid plan to address future care needs.

POA documents let the principal (person assigning authority) decide the parties that are to act upon the person’s behalf in the event that he/she becomes incapable of making a decision on important matters. The person who will act on the principal’s behalf is the agent. 

There are two kinds of POAs: the medical POA that gives a family member or trusted friend the ability in making decisions regarding the principal upon being incapacitated; and the financial POA wherein the agent can make financial decisions on the principal’s behalf. You can assign the same person to be the agent for both healthcare and financial POA, But it is wise not to do so.

Powers of a Power of Attorney

The powers of the appointed agent can either be narrow or broad depending on the drafting of POA.  Listed below are some of the decisions agents are able to make with every kind of POA. 

A financial agent will be able to do the following on the principal’s behalf:

  • Collect the debts of the principal;
  • Manage the property of the principal;
  • Execute or make decisions on investment opportunities; 
  • File taxes; 
  • Access the financial accounts of the principal in order to settle payments for housing, healthcare and other bills; 
  • Send applications for public benefits 

For a healthcare agent, he/she can decide:

  • Type of medical care a principal will be receiving, including psychiatric treatment, surgery, hospital care, and home health care. Take note: the choice often depends on the principal’s financial means as well as the approval of the appointed financial agent through a financial power of attorney.
  • Care provider and/or doctor the principal will be able to hire; 
  • The food that the principal will be eating; 
  • The caretaker for the general well-being of the principal; and 
  • The place where the principal will live. The decision may include decisions on long-term care e.g. memory care or nursing home 

 Limitations of a POA

A generic Power of Attorney that doesn’t include limitations of the powers of an agent often gives the authorized person broad power regarding financial and/or medical matters. But, there are a couple of things agents can’t do even with a generic POA.

Agents are not allowed to:

  • Make changes to deeds or wills of the principal;
  • Break the fiduciary duty of acting with the best interests of the principal in mind; 
  • Make decisions on the principal’s behalf after death, unless the agent itself is the will executer; 
  • Make changes to the POA and give authority to someone else. Take note: an agent can decline the appointment of being an agent. An agent can’t make a choice on who will take over the duties assigned by the principal if there was no alternate agent or co-agent assigned.

Power of Attorney Drafting in Dubai 

When it comes to POAs, it is important for this legal document to be durable. Durable POAs can ensure that your finances and health are being handled properly, at times of emergencies.  This will spare your closed ones of the unpleasant and stressful task of making decisions at those situations.

A durable power of attorney is important to make your POA valid regardless of your capability on making decisions. For example, if you have fallen into a coma, you would want your spouse to make all of your decisions despite you being comatose.

Fortunately, our legal drafting lawyers in Dubai can help you create a durable power of attorney with their decades of experience and expertise in making such.  If you have questions or concerns regarding the power of attorney, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Initial consultations are free of charge.