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Am I only allowed to name one power of attorney?

Choosing a person to be your power of attorney (POA) allows you to have a surrogate act on your behalf should you suffer incapacitation and can no longer make financial or other life decisions for yourself. Some people may wonder, however, if they can or should appoint more than one person to act as a power of attorney. For various reasons, Ohio residents may wish to appoint two or more agents to act on their behalf.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association website, a person does not have to name just one person as a power of attorney. Individuals may name two or more people to serve as co-agents. The person naming the agents, referred to as the principal, can also set the terms for how the agents can operate. The agents may have power to act individually, or the principal may insist that they make decisions based on majority approval among the agents. The principal may also insist they act unanimously.

Appointing co-agents can have their drawbacks and benefits. There may be conflict among the co-agents if they do not agree on a decision, or if their powers are not clearly defined. On the other hand, co-agents can keep each other accountable. A principal may even specifically assign a co-agent to supervise the activities of one or more agents. This can help prevent an agent from abusing POA powers.

An Ohio resident may still prefer to appoint a single POA but likes the security of having multiple agents. With more than one agent, the principal does not have to worry about something happening to one POA and losing the right to name another POA in the event the principal is incapacitated. However, a person could choose to appoint one power of attorney and an alternate that can take over in the event something happens to the first POA.

This article is written to educate readers on power of attorney issues and should not be read as legal advice.

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