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A Power of Attorney Doesn't Grant the Agent Unlimited Power

Making sure a person is designated to make important decisions regarding one's health and financial well-being when one cannot do it for him or herself is an important part of the estate planning process. This can be accomplished with a power of attorney. Some Pennsylvania residents may have concerns about granting an agent too much power, but the truth is, an agent is only allowed to do so much.

There are two different types of POA: financial and medical. It is possible to assign one agent to both or different agents to each -- whichever one believes is best for his or her circumstances. A POA can do a lot. For example, a medical POA has the right to make all decisions regarding what treatments the principal will or will not receive, which doctors the principal will see and where the principal will live if long-term care is required.

While there are a lot of things that a POA agent can do, there are also numerous things he or she cannot do. At the end of the day, the agent's job is to act in the best interests of the principal. Things an agent cannot do include:

  • Make changes to the principal's will
  • Control the principal's estate -- unless the agent was also named the executor
  • Transfer the POA agent position to another party

Choosing an agent for a power of attorney is not always easy. The job is not a simple one, and not everyone is up to the task. Pennsylvania residents who would like to set up POA can do so with assistance from an experienced estate planning attorney. The POA terms can be broad or narrow, depending on what one wants.

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