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New Jersey Employment Lawyers > Blog > Estate Planning > What You Can and Cannot Do With Power of Attorney in New Jersey and New York

What You Can and Cannot Do With Power of Attorney in New Jersey and New York


A power of attorney (POA) is an important estate planning document. Under New Jersey law (NJ Rev Stat § 46:2B-8.2), a POA is a legal document through which a person can authorize another trusted individual or entity to act on their behalf. At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we provide comprehensive estate planning support. Within this article, our New Jersey and New York estate planning lawyer explains what you can and cannot do with a POA.

The Cans of a Power of Attorney 

You CAN Use POA to Pay Bills and Handle Financial Matters 

One of the most common uses of a POA in New Jersey is to handle financial transactions, including paying bills, managing bank accounts, and even handling real estate transactions. The appointed agent under a POA steps into the shoes of the principal—the person who granted POA—to ensure that financial responsibilities are met.

 You CAN Use POA to Take Care of Legal Issues 

A POA also grants the agent the authority to deal with legal matters on behalf of the principal. It can be everything from attending court hearings to settling disputes to engaging in litigation. Indeed, a POA is a critical tool for ensuring that the principal’s rights are protected.

 You CAN Use POA to Make Medical Decisions (Assuming Health Care POA is Set Up) 

If a specific health care POA is established, the designated agent can make medical decisions for the principal. Health care POA is vital in situations where the principal is incapacitated and unable to make informed health care decisions on their own. The agent can consult with medical professionals and make choices that align with the principal’s best interests.

 The Cannots of a Power of Attorney 

You CANNOT Use POA to Revise a Will 

While a POA is a powerful estate planning document, it also has inherent limitations. A critical limitation in the use of a POA is that an agent cannot alter the principal’s last will and testament. The will is a personal testamentary document that only the principal—assuming they are still of sound legal mind—can amend or revise. You can never alter a will with POA.

 You CANNOT Use POA as an Executor (in Probate)

 The purpose of a POA is to protect the principal during the course of their lifetime. Once a person passes away, a POA is extinguished. It no longer has any legal validity. That someone was named POA does not automatically grant them the right to act as the executor as an estate. Power of attorney cannot be used in the probate process.

 Get Help From Our POA Attorney Today

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our New Jersey and New York POA lawyer is standing by, ready to help you and your family put the right structure in place. If you have any specific questions or concerns about what you can (and cannot) do with power of attorney, please contact us now for your confidential consultation.



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