A financial powers of attorney – also known as a durable power of attorney – appoints an attorney-in-fact (agent) to care for your finances while you are incapacitated. If you ever become incapacitated this document, with exceptions, allows an agent appointed by to manage your finances and transact on your behalf. Although you can limit the power, the document is generally powerful. Typically the agent can do the following on your behalf:
- use your assets to pay expenses and support your family
- buy, sell, maintain, and encumber property
- collect government benefits
- file and pay your taxes
- buy, sell, and maintain insurance policies including annuities
- invest your money
- manage your retirement accounts
- transact with banks
It goes without saying that the agent you choose should be someone you trust a great deal. Also, this is a powerful document that should not to be mishandled. When we draft the document we take care in educating you about the power of this document and possible solutions to managing its power.
What if the bank or institution will not accept a power attorney? In rare circumstances a bank, institution, or some other company will refuse to accept a duly executed power of attorney. Because a court cannot order the refusing institution to accept the document, we recommend simultaneously executing a Self Designation of Guardian. Through a Self Designation of Guardian you would appoint a guardian over your person and property. Generally, both the agent on the Financial Powers of Attorney and the guardian on the Self Designation of Guardian are the same individual. Once appointed as guardian, the institution must deal with them.