UIC Law Review


Thomas Simmons


With the popularity of durable powers of attorney to manage the estates and personal affairs of individuals with diminished capacity, construction of the scope of powers with which agents are acting is of increasing importance. Some acts should be seen as so inherently personal or so dramatically inconsistent with the expected role of an agent as to be simply outside the scope of agency altogether. Others, such as those involving gifts, self-dealing transactions, or constitutional rights, should be never implied but honored when located within the express terms of an agent’s authority. The remaining powers should be construed and mapped according to the language in the power of attorney instrument with reference to longstanding principles of agency law. This article critiques and explains the evolution of this branch of agency law, with a special focus on the power of agents to enter into arbitration agreements on their principals’ behalf in view of the 2015 Kentucky Supreme Court decision, Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman.