Power of Attorney Legal Limits

Power of Attorney Legal Limits: Are There Any?

The person with power of attorney may undertake financial decision making and does have almost boundless legal limits. A power of attorney could be authorized to pay bills, open, close and manage bank and stock accounts, buy and sell property including the elder's residence, invest money, or withdraw money from investments, pay for senior care or services, decide on which living situation is best for an elder, place the elder in a care facility or nursing home, and otherwise make all important decisions except health-related decisions.

The elder may no longer have any say in financial decision making, or money decisions, if he or she has reached the point when a power of attorney is necessary. The law builds in the basic protection of having a formal document in place and requiring a notary public to verify the signature to protect against someone using another's identity. Unfortunately, the Durable Power of Attorney document itself does not protect the elder against the wrong use of the document, nor does it have any connection to the courts. It allows virtually unlimited freedom to make money decisions.

Abusing Power of Attorney

There is no legal requirement that a power of attorney be related to the elder. It is certainly a problem for those who have no children or other relatives to choose someone trustworthy. Very sad cases of financial abuse have occurred when the former secretary, housekeeper, gardener, or other person close to the elder was given a Durable Power of Attorney. It is truly a "license to steal" in the hands of an unscrupulous person whose motive is to take the elder's money. Even those who have known the elder for many years are not necessarily trustworthy when it comes to money. A valuable house, jewelry, large bank account, or other assets can simply be too tempting for someone who puts self above the needs of a helpless and unknowing elder.


Carolyn L. Rosenblatt

Carolyn Rosenblatt is a Registered Nurse and Attorney with 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. See full bio


2 months, said...

can a person resign from being executor but remain POA...my fatherinlaws niece resigned 5 days by mail as his executor ,,,now hes deceased and she froze bank accts. and is carrying on as if she has a right..what can we legally do so my fathinlaws wishes are respected....


2 months, said...

if someone resigns as executor how can they still carry out POA duties legally...the executor resigned in my fatherinlaws case by written letter after his death and now has froze bank accounts and says she is still POA.. HOw do I handle that ....


2 months, said...

My daughter wants me to give her power of attorney I am of sound mindfell like I am being bullied


3 months, said...

My husband and father in law are POA of finance for their father...we were recently told that his financial company will not accept the POA that is in place. Is this true? The financial company is Hanlon financial company...


4 months, said...

My sister has power of attorney, but is saying that I don't have a right to know anything about the medical care of my mother or even how she is doing. My mother is in a memory care unit in upstate New York State. My sister is saying that the facility cannot discuss my mother's condition with me (she recently had a bad cold and is on Tamiflu to prevent from getting the flu), nor can they discuss medical treatment such as providing her with antibiotics, etc. as she has power of attorney. My sister doesn't have a good relationship with any of the CNAs, the CEO or the floor manager. She is controlling and causing unnecessary disturbances with "over the top" complaints. This is one of the best facilities in Upstate NY for the care of Alzheimers patients. The staff "cringe" when my sister approaches. My question is: can my sister prevent me from knowing about the care provided to my mother in her capacity with Power of Attorney? I visit regularly, however, I've been in Florida for 6 weeks and my mother recently became ill which is why I'm questioning what she can and cannot do as Power of Attorney. Thank you, Lisa Hogan


about 1 year, said...

My mother is 90 years old, suffered a CVA, and is now in a SNF. My older Brother is POA. I asked him to list me as a contact in my Mother's chart in the event of eminent demise. My Brother told me NO I was not allowed to be listed as an "Emergency Contact" as he is the "Sole" contact and that the SNF does not make that distinction. Please help me with this. I am a licensed OT and I know I have every right to listed as an emergency contact but how do I convince my Brother of this?


about 1 year, said...

Is it possible to appoint a Power of Attorney for just a particular bank account, or bankcard. And not allow any powers over anything else?


over 1 year, said...

What would / could happen if an adult child is caring for their parent in the adult childs home and that parent refuses to get a P.O.A for their finances? What happens when that same parent is unable to understand their own finances and their is no P.O.A in place? Help! Worried!


over 1 year, said...

I am the grandson of retired farmers. My grandpa had a stroke and is now in a home but not incompetent. My aunt has POA and is saying he is incompetent and cannot make any decisions. I farmed a few of their acres this year and now they are trying to take the money away from me. Also they(all aunts and uncles including my mother) say if I keep talking to to my grandparents I will have a protection order served against me. My grandparents do not agree with any of this. Can they do all of this?


about 2 years, said...

Can the Power of Attorney be used by the agent to take my money or property without my permission?


about 2 years, said...

I am involved in a incident where one relative had power of attorney. Five relatives were cleaning out the house taking the tools, towels and pictures. In the garage a safe was found with 40,000 dollars in it and the poa grabbed it and put in her car. It has not been seen since.


over 2 years, said...

Hi I Need advice for my wife and as her POA Seeking protect against creditors and to transfer assets ?


about 3 years, said...

My ex had POA from me and has sold my house and will not give me any of the money. Can she get away with that?


over 3 years, said...

Ever since my auntie got sick my grandma has power of attorney over her.my grandma won't let her go outside, talk to people and she doesn't take care of her physical appearance. My aunt doesn't go to her physical therapy or any type of program to help her.is there anything I can do????


about 4 years, said...

does a power of attorney have the right to claim the remains of a loved one who is not the next of kin?


about 5 years, said...

I've read that the DPOA Act restricts the POA from voting, amending a will, or contracting a marriage on behalf of the principal. Where can I find this law/restriction? My moms bf married her via POA the week after I filed for guardianship. I tried to invalidate the marriage on mental condition (alz) but have been timed out as colorado only allows 6mo, and I waited too long. Anyway, I'm trying to invalidate it now by fraud/void contract. Any help is great thanks!


about 7 years, said...

very true but does a p.o.a have a right to ignore ones wishes in writing when p.o.a. was drawn up