A Limited Power of Attorney
A power of attorney document can be drafted without limitations, such is a durable power of attorney. It can also be drafted with limitations, a limited power of attorney. There are advantages to a limited power of attorney. I will discuss a few of the more common limited powers which I have seen.
First, an Attorney-in-Fact’s powers can be limited by time. If you know you will be out of the country for a certain amount of time, the power of attorney document can state that it is valid “until I return to Cumberland County sui juris (in my right mind).” This may help when your physical absence and the assistance you need go hand-in-hand.
An Attorney-in-Fact’s powers can be limited in scope. For example, if the powers included are financial, you may wish to give your Attorney In Fact the power to write checks on your account “not to exceed five thousand dollars in any twenty-four hour period.”
The particular facts of your situation may also guide how the power of attorney document is drafted. I recall one such incident where the Principal was travelling out of the country and needed someone to transact one particular piece of business for him. His cousin was his chosen Attorney in Fact because his cousin was in the same business. The problem was he didn’t trust his cousin very far.
We drafted a power of attorney document which empowered his cousin to take action as it related to this very narrow issue, up to a certain dollar amount, until such time as he (the Principal and Grantor of the power of attorney) returned to his home country, sui juris. It was as close to an ‘insulting’ power of attorney document as I ever drafted. The cousin was not insulted, however, as he stood to make a nice profit when the deal went through.
So before you zoom out and use a software package or a web site to download a power of attorney document, consider carefully what limitations you would like. . .and have your estate planning attorney craft just exactly what you need.