Estate Planning Lawyer in Chesterfield
Call Today For a Consultation 586.690.4400 Book Consultation

What is a power of attorney and how does it work?

A power of attorney in Michigan is a legal document that allows someone (the "principal") to appoint another person (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to act on their behalf in financial, legal, or other personal matters. The powers granted to the agent are specified in the document, and the agent can make decisions and take actions as if they were the principal. A power of attorney can be durable, meaning it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated, or it can be temporary or limited in scope.

The powers that the principal has under a power of attorney in Michigan depend on the specific language of the document. The principal can grant their agent broad authority to handle their financial and legal affairs, or they can limit the agent's authority to specific tasks. Common powers that can be granted to an agent under a power of attorney include:

  • Managing financial accounts and investments

  • Buying, selling, and managing property

  • Signing legal documents and contracts

  • Accessing bank accounts

  • Paying bills and making other financial decisions

  • Making gifts

  • Filing tax returns

It's important to note that the powers granted in a power of attorney are limited by Michigan law, and the agent is required to act in the best interests of the principal and follow their instructions. If the agent misuses their authority or acts against the principal's wishes, they can be held accountable under Michigan law.

A power of attorney in Michigan can be revoked by the principal at any time as long as they have the capacity to do so. To revoke a power of attorney, the principal must take action to revoke the document, such as destroying the original document, executing a revocation document, or communicating to their agent that the power of attorney is no longer in effect. It's important to note that any actions taken by the agent under the power of attorney before it was revoked are still valid and binding. Additionally, if the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions, the power of attorney is automatically revoked, unless the document specifically states otherwise (for example, if it is a durable power of attorney).

A power of attorney in Michigan can be limited in scope and duration. The principal can specify exactly what powers they want to grant to their agent, and they can also specify the length of time that the power of attorney is in effect. For example, a principal might grant their agent authority to manage their finances for a specific period of time, such as while they are out of the country, or they might limit the agent's authority to a specific task, such as selling a particular property. The powers granted to the agent and the duration of the power of attorney are determined by the specific language of the document, so it's important to carefully review and understand the terms of the power of attorney before signing it.

We Can Help

The estate planning attorneys of Penzien & McBride, PLLC have been helping families and business owners with their estate planning needs for more than two decades. If you are looking for a compassionate professional that can help you through the estate planning process, conduct a review of your existing estate plan, or if you would like additional information about our services, give us a call at (586) 690-4400 or schedule an appointment to discuss your needs.

Categories: