Delaware County Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
A durable financial power of attorney is a reliable method for arranging another person to manage your finances in the event you can no longer make sound decisions concerning bank accounts, investments and all other financial holdings. Durable financial POAs always include the statement that the document cannot be changed regardless of the passage of time or if the principal suffers a disability. This particular claim is vital to the validity of a durable financial POA because without it, the document ceases to be effective when and if the principal becomes incapacitated.
What Happens When No Durable Financial Power of Attorney Exists?
An incapacitated individual without a durable financial power of attorney loses their ability to legally express their wishes and instructions concerning how their estate is managed. Loved ones could be left unprovided for and people whom the person does not want to receive any of their estate could, in fact, receive the bulk of it after years of litigation. In addition, waiting for the establishment of a court-appointed conservator is time-consuming and costly, often draining an estate of funds that could have been given to family members and loved ones.
What the Agent of a Durable Financial Power of Attorney Can Do
A durable financial power of attorney gives agents the ability to handle all or a portion of the principal’s financial affairs, including but not limited to paying bills, signing checks, managing investments and possibly selling possessions, such as real estate, vehicles or jewelry. When no durable financial power of attorney exists for someone who experiences cognitive disabilities and can no longer make decisions, that person’s family or caregiver will have to have the courts appoint a conservator who is legally in control of that person’s monetary affairs.
Principals can give agents as little or as much power as they wish. For example, agents are often given the authority to do the following:
- Collect government benefits such as Social Security or Medicare
- Invest estate monies in mutual funds, bonds or stocks
- Sell and purchase insurance annuities and policies on your behalf
- Continue operating the business owned by the principal
- Claim any property that is inherited by the principal or is otherwise entitled to
- Transfer property to an already established trust
- Manage IRAs
When Does a a Durable Financial Power of Attorney End?
Unlike wills, a durable financial POA ends automatically at the time of the principal’s death. This means that the principal cannot give their agent the authority to manage his or her estate after they have passed using a financial power of attorney. A Delaware County estate planning lawyer will need to draft a will and name someone as the executor of your estate.
A durable financial power of attorney also becomes invalid in the state of Pennsylvania if:
- It is revoked by the principal (as long as he or she is mentally competent)
- The principal gets a divorce and the spouse is the agent named on the document
- Although rare, the courts may invalidate a durable financial POA if they find that the principal was not mentally competent at the time it was signed or if they find the principal was the victim of fraud.
- The agent named in the POA has passed away. A trusts and estate planning attorney can help you avoid this issue by adding a clause in the document naming an alternate agent in the event something happens to the original agent which prevent him or her from performing the duties described in the document.
Contact Latoison Law for All Your Estate Planning Needs
To find out which estate planning strategies wills, trusts and other tools best address your particular needs, contact the law offices of Latoison Law today to talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer and/or trust attorney and gain the peace of mind knowing your estate will be managed and distributed before or after your death according to your instructions.