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Agent for your financial power of attorney

Role of the Agent of Your Power of Attorney

You should consider signing durable financial power of attorney as part of your estate plan. Picture a timeline: today, you are alive and fully capable of managing your affairs. At the other end of the timeline is the date of your death. Somewhere in between, either due to accident or illness, you may become unable to mange your financial affairs for a short or extended period of time. Who manages your finances if you are unable?

Without a power of attorney, someone would have to (literally) take you to court and have you declared to be incapacitated. A guardian of your estate (and person) would be appointed and the guardian of the estate would have to show the court, on an annual basis, the disbursements of your funds.

If you are like most people, you want to keep the court out of your life as much as possible. In most cases, a power of attorney eliminates the need for a court appointed guardian to manage your affairs. The agent under the power of attorney is given broad powers over your property and can generally do everything with your assets that you could have done when you had the capacity to do so - except, generally, the power to take all of your money and gift it to him or herself.

The agent can be one or more individuals or a corporate fiduciary. You should also consider whether multiple agents should be required to act jointly or whether they can act individually. Finally, you should appoint a primary agent and then a successor. Similar to the executor and the trustee appointments, you should select someone who is financially responsible, stable, and trustworthy.

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