A generic power of attorney document, such as those provided by online forms that are easily downloaded and filled out, may not contain the necessary limitations that you intended. This means that by default, your power of attorney agent may have broad power over your financial or medical decisions. Even in these broad interpretations of generic documents, however, there are a few things that an agent cannot do.
One of the primary guidelines for a power of attorney agent is that they must act in the best interests of the principal or the person who created that document. There are three primary things that an agent cannot do. These include:
- Transferring or changing the power of attorney to someone else, although the agent does have the ability to decline this appointment at any time.
- Violate their fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the principal who created this power of attorney document.
- Make decisions on behalf of the power of attorney document creator after that person has passed away. The only exception to this are cases where the principal has also named that agent as the executor of the will or when the principal dies without a will and the agent becomes the administrator of their estate.
Even though there are some basic protections with a power of attorney document that prevent an agent from doing anything they want, selecting this person to serve as your agent should not be a rushed decision. Think carefully about who you trust to serve in this role. Contact our office for help with a Michigan power of attorney document.