Power of Attorney: What You Can and Cannot Use Them For

Just like with most legal processes, the acquisition and enforcement of a power of attorney or POA can be quite confusing. However, an essential tool such as this can help individuals, their families, and businesses in creating a solid plan when it comes to gaining peace of mind and addressing 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 is given the ability in making financial decisions on the principal’s behalf. One person can be the agent that makes both healthcare and financial decisions; however, it is possible and also wise if the two are separated. 

What Can Be Done with a Power of Attorney?

The appointed agent’s powers that are given through a power of attorney can either be narrow or broad. This will depend on how the document is drafted by a lawyer in Dubai. 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:

  • Which type of medical care a principal will be receiving, including psychiatric treatment, surgery, hospital care, and home health care among others. 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.
  • Which care provider and/or doctor the principal will be able to hire; 
  • Regarding the food that the principal will be eating; 
  • The person who will bathe and take care of 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 

 What CANNOT Be Done with a Power of Attorney 

A generic Power of Attorney that doesn’t include limitations on what an agent can decide on 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 when given a generic POA. A fundamental rule that governs the power of an agent is that the person is expected to act with the best interests of the principal in mind. 

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; 
  • Still make decisions on the principal’s behalf after death, unless the agent was named the executor of the will of the principal or if the principal dies and the agent petitions to be the principal’s administrator for properties and real estate as the principal has no will; 
  • 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 by the principal in the same power of attorney

Power of Attorney Drafting in Dubai 

When it comes to POAs, it is important for this legal document to be durable. Durable POAs can help you ensure that matters regarding your finances and health are being handled properly, most especially during emergencies. This will spare friends and family members of the unpleasant and stressful task of creating decisions that they are unsure of during a very stressful time. 

A durable power of attorney is also important if you want your POA to be upheld regardless of whether or not you are capable of communicating your decisions or wishes. For example, in the event that 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. We can also help you create any type of power of attorney you are interested in. If you have questions or concerns regarding the power of attorney, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Initial consultations are free of charge.