Our Skilled NY Estate Planning Lawyers Outline the Pros and Cons of Citing Multiple Agents in Your Power of Attorney

As part of a comprehensive estate plan, you’ll likely create a power of attorney (POA). This legal document lets you name a person, usually known as an “agent,” to make decisions for you should an illness or disability incapacitate you. You may designate someone to make financial or property decisions for you, and you can sign a health care proxy for someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.  

New York doesn’t stipulate or limit the number of agents you can designate in your POA. However, it’s important to understand what it could mean if you name more than one person. The knowledgeable estate planning lawyers at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C. understand there are advantages and disadvantages to naming multiple agents, and we discuss them here to help you make informed decisions before creating a POA.

Understanding the Authority of a New York POA Agent

Most people understand there are good reasons to create a POA. This document protects you because it ensures that someone you trust will look after your financial and property affairs should you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. You may need someone to sign checks, file your tax returns, manage your investments, and handle other important financial affairs. You may also need that person to buy or sell property on your behalf. Your POA agent can be given the responsibility to perform all of these tasks.

However, when you give someone authority to manage your affairs, it may feel a little like giving them a “blank check” regarding your money and property. You might also wonder why you would give such far-reaching and extensive control to one person. It’s important to understand why you might want a single person or multiple people to handle your affairs and how to determine whether they must act together when making decisions or if they’re allowed to act separately. 

Advantages of Naming Multiple People as Your POA Agents

It’s important to talk to an NY estate planning lawyer when developing a POA. Terence Ricaforte and Renata Landskind will explain to you the following benefits of naming more than one person as your POA agent. 


It’s possible that one of your agents lives out of town or even out of state. If this is the case, handling financial and estate issues can take longer and be more complicated. If you’ve chosen a second agent who lives in the area, that person can more easily meet with financial planners, bankers, and realtors, helping to ensure that decisions are made in person and efficiently.

Asset management 

It’s possible that you own different asset types. For example, you may have an artwork collection, more than one property, and a rare book collection. It might be important to your estate and to your beneficiaries that you name separate agents who specifically understand these assets so they can be handled and/or sold properly. However, you must clearly state the roles and reach of each agent. 


It’s not an easy task to manage someone’s financial and property affairs or to be designated as someone’s health care proxy. Each involves a lot of work and responsibility. When one person, perhaps a child, is given total authority and power, it can create problems with other siblings. It can also be a significantly weighty and challenging job. Sometimes, it’s helpful to spread the job to more than one person.   

Advantages of Naming Only One Person as Your POA Agent

New York allows you to name as many agents in your POA as you prefer. However, having more than one person can present problems, including:

  • When many people are assigned to work in the same arena, or there are “too many cooks in the kitchen,” decision-making can come to a standstill if there are disagreements unless you state clearly in your POA that all the agents you’ve named must act collectively. This can be helpful so no one person wields too much power. However, if an agent isn’t available for an important meeting or there are disagreements, it often makes decision making more difficult. 
  • When you have one agent, there’s no discrepancy or confusion about a decision. Whereas a second agent might not be aware of what the first agent is doing, and there could be a disconnect that causes a major disruption. Having one agent with the authority to act independently is often preferable.
  • Banks and financial institutions may be less willing to work with multiple agents. They may be concerned about fraud and want to deal with just one person.