Can Two People Have the Power of Attorney for the Same Person?

By Carrie Ferland
Two People, the Power, Attorney, the Same Person

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Most power of attorney agreements include just one principal and one agent. If a principal decides to elect two agents, however, this is certainly possible--provided that the powers granted to each agent do not overlap.

Joint Power of Attorney

The principal can name two people as agents, called joint power of attorney. It is imperative, however, that a principal does not make this decision simply to appease relatives. The decision should be the principal’s, and should be made because the principal believes it is the best decision for her care.

Naming Two Agents

When naming two agents, the principal should include both agents in the same power of attorney agreement. All three parties should sign the document at the same time in the presence of two witnesses, and both agents will need their own copy of the signed agreement.

Separate Powers

The principal should take care to give each agent separate powers and clearly outline what powers each agent has within the agreement. Granting both the same or overlapping powers is allowed, but can lead to disagreements between the agents later and prevent either from being able to act on behalf of the principal.

Separate POA Agreements

Do not draft separate power of attorney agreements for each agent. Otherwise, the agreement created last will be the agreement that prevails, and only one agent will have power of attorney for the principal.

Terminating Powers

When revoking power of attorney for just one agent, the principal will need to draft a new power of attorney document granting authority to only the other agent.

Resources

About the Author

Carrie Ferland is a practicing civil litigation defense attorney in the Philadelphia Area. As an author, her work has been featured in various legal publications for over 10 years. Ferland is a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and completed her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration with the Dickinson School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English.

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