Power of attorney is given to someone you name in a legal document, such as your will, and they handle pertinent legal and even medical actions on your behalf. There are some responsibilities a power of attorney can perform, but there are common misconceptions about other actions that a power of attorney cannot carry out. If you’re curious about powers of attorney in St. Petersburg and how it can affect your wishes, keep reading.

What is a Power of Attorney and What Can They Do?

The power of attorney allows an individual, the agent, to act on behalf of another, the principal. A principal makes this arrangement when he or she anticipates being unable to attend or be in a sound frame of mind to perform important legal actions. The particular powers of an agent can range, depending on the way that the assigning document is written.

Granting an individual power of attorney does not mean that this person can act entirely as the other individual. Some responsibilities allow the power of attorney to make day-to-day decisions in order to create the best possible living arrangements for the principal. For example,  healthcare powers of attorney are able to make decisions on the following:

  • Which medical practitioners the principal uses
  • What healthcare procedures are permitted to care for the principal, dependent on the means of the principal or payee
  • The living arrangements for the principal, which can include the choice of assisted-living or nursing homes, taking into account the financial resources of the principal

On the other hand, a financial agent has different responsibilities, such as:

  • Access the principal’s finances in order to pay for the basic needs of the principal, such as healthcare and housing needs
  • Collect debt and file taxes for the principal
  • Manage the principal’s property and make investment decisions on behalf of the principal
  • Apply for public benefits, such as veterans’ benefits

What Can’t a Power of Attorney Do?

Will and testaments are vital legal documents that any individual can draw up and file. Though an agent works with a will occasionally, they cannot sign one on behalf of a principal. Some other common legal actions that a power of attorney cannot perform are:

  • Breaking fiduciary duty to act in the principal’s best interest
  • Make decisions for the principal after death. Once an individual passes, all legal authority is given to the executor of the will, which can be the same person in many cases
  • Change or transfer the role of power of attorney to another person. However, a power of attorney can relinquish their appointment at any time

If you’re looking for advice on powers of attorney in St. Petersburg, look no further! Growney, McKeown & Barber, P.A. are focused on resolving difficult circumstances with the client’s best interest in mind—every time.

With over 35 years of legal experience in personal injury, estate planning, and adoption areas, our team of lawyers is sure to identify the best possible legal actions to create long-lasting, positive outcomes. Learn more about assigning a power of attorney and our many other legal services by calling us at 727-384-3800 or online.