Q: Can you sell someone’s property under their general durable power of attorney without the person knowing or signing documents? Can you get in trouble for doing this?
A: All powers of attorney have an underlying understanding that the agent is acting in the best interest of the principle. If the principle is competent to make his or her own decisions and you, as agent, are operating behind their back doing this, you are not fulfilling your duty. If they are incompetent and you are acting in their best interest, that is another matter. You really need to have a local lawyer look at the POA and assess the situation. Is it a standard general durable POA or is it a springing POA? Is the principle competent? Is this move in the principal’s best interest? There have been two significant changes in POA language by the PA legislature, one is Act 39 in the year 2000 and one is Act 95 in the year 2014, effective January 1, 2015. Much of these changes were made to curb and police the actions of agents who exceed their powers in not acting in the principal’s best interest.