Can a Power of Attorney Open Credit in My Name?

If you grant someone power of attorney, that person, called your agent or attorney-in-fact, can legally act on your behalf. The only limit on the kinds of things your agent is allowed to do is up to you and the laws of your state. If you want to allow your agent to be able to open credit in your name, you can. Talk to a lawyer for legal advice about using powers of attorney and what powers to grant your agent.

Agent's Powers

When you grant a power of attorney, you name someone else as your agent. This agent, also known as an attorney-in-fact, can do whatever it is you allow him to do under the terms of the power of attorney (POA) document. For example, you can give your agent the ability to prepare your yearly tax return or rent an apartment on your behalf while you are out of the country.

Power Limitations

You can give your agent as much or as little power as you wish. If you want your agent to have the broadest possible powers, you can grant a general power of attorney. This allows the agent to do anything you can do. You can also give the agent limited powers, such as power to perform one specific task. Your agent can open credit in your name if you grant general financial powers of attorney, or limited powers that make provisions for opening credit.

Time Frame

Your agent can only act while the power of attorney is effective, and you can decide when this happens. For example, you can grant your agent the right to open credit on your behalf immediately upon signing the power of attorney document. You can also make the agent's powers contingent on certain conditions, such as granting the right to open credit if you ever become incapacitated or ill. Furthermore, a principal has the right to terminate an agent's power at any time, or include provisions in the POA that terminate the power automatically.

Other Considerations

Some states have by statute designated requirements for certain kinds of powers granted to a power of attorney. These so-called "hot powers" must be specifically granted through a power of attorney document or the agent will not be able to exercise them. Even if a principal grants an agent general financial power of attorney, the agent cannot exercise hot powers unless specifically allowed to do so. What powers fall into this category differ between states, but a principal can always make specific provisions in a POA if he wants to allow an agent certain powers.