Can a POA take action for a competent person?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a POA take action for a competent person?

My dad went to assisted living 3 weeks ago and my sister and I have his P.O.A. His house is in a revocable Trust of which I am the trustee.

Someone wants to buy the house and we both signed a purchase agreement as P.O.A’s for dad. However, if my dad is competent to sign closing papers, is the purchase agreement null and void?

Asked on March 25, 2017 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the terms for the person given power by the POA) can take action for the competent person so long as the principal (person making the POA) does not object: you can act for him, but you can't override him, and he can remove you as agent or rescind his POA anytime he wants. To analogize: the principal is the president of a company, people who he grants power by a POA are his managers. They can act for him the same way a manager can act for the company president, but just as the president can overrule the manager at any time and/or fire him, so, too, can the principal overrule his agents and remove them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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