Abstract Event-related brain potentials were used to study the neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed object use distinguishing between processes supporting immediate and final action goals during action planning and execution. Subjects performed a grasping and transportation task in which actions were cued either with the immediate action goal (the part of the object to grasp) or with the final action goal of the movement (the end position for transportation). Slow wave potentials dissociated between processes supporting immediate and final goals: reaching for the object was accompanied by the development of a parietal–occipital slow wave that peaked in congruency with the grasping event, whereas transport of the object towards the final goal location was found accompanied by slow wave components developing over left frontal regions with a peak towards the movement end. Source localization of cueing differences indicated activation centered around the parieto-occipital sulcus during reaching of the immediate action goal, followed by enhanced activation in the anterior prefrontal cortex during transport to the final action goal. These results suggest the existence of separate neural controllers for immediate and final action goals during the execution of goal-directed actions with objects.