You pride yourself on being on top of your finances, so being in a position where you can’t pay bills or manage your bank accounts is terrifying to you. This situation is, unfortunately, all too common. However, if you have signed a durable power of attorney appointing a trusted individual to manage your finances in your place, you will not have to worry. If you are in the hospital, stuck at home with an illness or injury, or even if you are completely incapacitated, your power of attorney agent can take care of financial matters on your behalf.
Durable Financial Powers of Attorney Have Built-in Protections
It might seem risky to give someone else control of your finances, even if it’s a person you trust. But when you work with an estate planning attorney to create this document, you can stipulate exactly what your agent can and cannot do on your behalf. You can even name more than one agent and require that they work together.
Your agent has a duty to act in your best interest and only within the scope of authority granted by the power of attorney. Unless permission is specifically granted in the document, your agent is prohibited from:
- Creating a trust on your behalf or making changes to an existing trust
- Giving away your property
- Creating or changing rights of survivorship
- Changing beneficiary designations on insurance policies or other accounts
- Letting others act their place
- Waiving your right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can be sure that the document will protect your interests and only grant the powers you want to grant.
Who Should You Choose as Your Financial Agent?
You can name anyone you trust to serve as your financial power of attorney agent, but we suggest choosing someone who is financially savvy enough to handle more complicated matters that might arise and who doesn’t have a vested interest in your estate. We also recommended naming more than one agent, or, at the very least, a primary agent and a back-up. You can change your agent at any time. Our team would be happy to help you decide who to name in your financial power of attorney.
We Are Here for You When You Need Us
A durable financial power of attorney is an essential estate planning document. When we create an estate plan for a client, we make sure they have powers of attorney and that they are updated as needed. Whether you are in need of a comprehensive estate plan or just want to complete a power of attorney document, we are here for you. Contact us to learn more about this vital legal document.