Frequently Asked Questions: Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written and notarized document giving an individual the legal power to act on behalf of another according to the terms of the document. There is no court involvement.

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

The primary 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 an individual to act as guardian or conservator of another 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 fiduciary 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. It is best to consult an attorney on issues regarding powers of attorney.

Are Powers of Attorney filed with the Probate Court?

No. The Court does not have any involvement with the creation or fulfillment of Powers of Attorney.