What are the rights of a POA?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are the rights of a POA?

I am POA for my cousin who is in hospice. He has treasury direct T-bills. Am I

legally allowed to sell his them and place the money in a savings account for him with me as beneficiary?

Asked on October 2, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the names for the person given power by a POA) has whatever legal power the POA gives him/her, so if this one, as it is written, gives you power over the cousin's finances (which it apparently does), you can sell the bills and put them into a savings account. But the agent also has a "fiduciary duty," or obligation to act in the interest of the principal (person who gave them the POA) not his/her own interest and to not engage in "self dealing." Putting the money into an account on which you are the beneficiary would likely be seen as self dealing and putting yourself ahead of the principal; if there are any other beneficiaries or any creditors with claims against him and his assets who complain about you doing this, you could be found to have violated your fiduciary duty and incur liability. You have to act for your cousin's benefit only--not your own.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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