Can you be a co-power of attorney?

January 23, 2023

Yes, it is possible to be a joint or co-power of attorney, meaning that you are one of two or more individuals who have been appointed to act as the power of attorney for someone else. Being a joint power of attorney can have both advantages and disadvantages. Some of the main issues to consider when serving as a joint power of attorney include:

  1. Decision-making: As a joint power of attorney, you will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the person who has granted you power of attorney (called the "principal"). This can include decisions related to financial matters, healthcare, and other important matters. It's important to be able to work effectively with the other joint power of attorney(s) to make decisions that are in the best interests of the principal.
  2. Communication: Effective communication is key to serving as a joint power of attorney. It's important to be able to communicate effectively with the other joint power of attorney(s) and with the principal to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that important decisions are made in a timely manner.
  3. Conflict: There is a potential for conflict when serving as a joint power of attorney, particularly if the joint power of attorney(s) have different goals or priorities. It's important to be able to resolve conflicts in a constructive and professional manner, and to seek guidance from an attorney if necessary.
  4. Complication: The biggest difficulty is when a power of attorney is appointing the co-agents to act jointly. These add major complications to the decision-making process and may often end in a stalemate which may force a court action. As a practical matter, there is no easy way to have two people to sign a check which many banks will not support.

We recommend that you only name one agent at a time in your power of attorney. It is understandable that there is hesitation to not exclude anyone or cause any hurt feelings, however your life is a one-person job and when you name a committee to handle your affairs it may add a layer of complexity to an already difficult situation.

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