A Financial Power of Attorney is a person who is able to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own behalf. The power is given by producing a legalized document that shows you allow another person to make financial decisions on your behalf. The person you chose to act on your behalf is considered your agent or attorney-in-fact.
Can I Set Limitations?
You can set limits for your agent. The thing to consider is what needs to be handled while you’re unable to act on your own. These things can include your personal expenses – monthly and annually, real estate, investments, asset management, benefit collections, insurance, and hiring legal representation.
If you have a separate medical agent for medical decisions, keep in mind that the financial agent needs to be updated by the medical agent to make decisions smoother.
How Is The Agent Created?
It is recommended to use the simple form for the state you’re in, or you could schedule a consultation with our Palm Springs trust and estate law firm. We can assist in the entire process, including having the document notarized with appropriate signatures. If real estate is involved, the state may require the agent to place a record on file with the local land and records office. It is also advised to let your bank know who your financial agent is.
When Does It Start?
The first thing is to decide is whether or not the power will be durable. If the power of attorney is not durable, and you become incapacitated, then when you can recover, this power is lost and a new agent document would need to be issued.
The document goes into effect as soon as it is signed. If you only want it to go into effect when you are incapacitated then you need a “springing” agent. In this case, you must be certified as incapacitated by a doctor. You can make this type of power of attorney durable also.
Financial decisions can only be made for you if you are incapacitated. If you want someone to make decisions for you after death, you will need to name them as executor in your will. There are several other ways the financial power of attorney can end, such as divorce, not being able to reach the agent, the court invalidates the document, or you can revoke it personally. It is best to also name alternate agents in the event something happens to an agent.