Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written and notarized document giving a person the legal power to act on behalf of another person according to the terms of the Power of Attorney. The Probate Court does not become involved with these types of documents.

What is the difference between Power of Attorney and guardianship or conservatorship?

The main difference between a Power of Attorney and a guardianship or conservatorship is court involvement. Guardianships and conservatorships are fiduciary relationships created by the court. The court authorizes a person to act as guardian or conservator of another person according to the terms of the court order.

If I have a Power of Attorney, do I need a guardianship or conservatorship?

It depends upon the authority granted by the Power of Attorney. A power of attorney may grant the individual broad powers over the person and his/her estate, or limited powers to act only in certain circumstances.  If the Power of Attorney grants only limited powers, a guardian or conservator may be necessary or desirable.

Can a Power of Attorney be filed with the Probate Court?

No. Powers of Attorney are not filed with the Probate Court.

Can a dispute over a Power of Attorney be heard in Probate Court?

Yes. If a guardianship or conservatorship was established, and the guardian or conservator wanted to terminate the Power of Attorney and a dispute arose over the management of the assets by the person acting under the Power of Attorney, the Probate Court could hear this matter. The Probate Court can also hear an action to require, hear, or settle an accounting of an agent acting under the Power of Attorney.

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