How Does Power of Attorney Work?

POSTED ON: December 20, 2021
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Depending on how you structure a power of attorney, an agent can – in some instances – transfer money and property to themselves.

However, it is uncommon and only allowed in specific circumstances and the laws vary by state.

Yahoo Finance’s recent article entitled "Can a Power of Attorney Transfer Money to Themselves?" explains that a power of attorney is when you assign someone (known as an agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to make legally binding decisions on your behalf. Typically, most of these documents have a limited grant of authority.

A general power of attorney is a type of durable power of attorney (the other two are "Special"  and "Healthcare or Medical"). With this document, an agent is permitted to make just about any decisions at all on your behalf while the document remains valid. However, even a general one has limits.

An agent typically cannot transfer money, personal property, real estate, or any other assets from the grantee to him or herself, and it’s usually deemed a fraudulent conveyance.

However, they can transfer assets to themselves, if they have specific written consent from the grantee (or creator of the legal document).

The grantee is able to authorize most forms of property transfer, provided the assets are theirs to give and the authorization is specific.

A grantee can only give this authority to an agent, if he or she is mentally and legally competent.

If you think you’ll want your legal documents to have this authority at some point, be sure to write it out in the original grant because you may not be able legally to amend this document when the issue comes up in the future.

Reference: Yahoo Finance (Sep. 21, 2021) "Can a Power of Attorney Transfer Money to Themselves?"

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Power of Attorney

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