Penalty for Taking Advantage of Power of Attorney

Image by, courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

If you are appointed the agent of a power of attorney, you assume what are known as fiduciary duties. That means you are required to act in an honest manner while dealing with the affairs and assets of the person who granted you power of attorney.


The primary function of an agent through a power of attorney is to protect the financial or health interests of the person who created the instrument.

Breach of Duty

Your duty as an agent can be breached in a number of ways, such as failing to act on behalf of the granter or misappropriating funds belonging to the granter.

Civil Penalty

A civil lawsuit is one possible penalty for taking advantage of power of attorney. The granter can sue you for breaching your duty.

Criminal Penalty

In some instances taking advantage of power of attorney can lead to a criminal charge, most commonly theft or fraud.


Always deal in the best interests of the granter. Even the appearance of impropriety can cause problems for you.