Importance of a financial power of attorney

11 May 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Probably you've heard about the term 'financial power of attorney' but you're not sure why you should have one or how you might benefit from signing this legal document. Consider this question: who will take care of your financial interests if you become incapacitated and are unable to handle your own financial affairs? Without the financial power of attorney in place, the court will appoint an individual to manage your financial affairs. This article explains several reasons why property owners should have the financial power of attorney in place with the help of an estate planning lawyer.

Get to choose your agent

If you sign a durable financial power of attorney and later you become incapacitated to the extent that you cannot make decisions, the representative named can assume your responsibility and make key financial decisions on your behalf. In contrast, without this legal document, you don't have any input on who will be chosen by the court to manage your affairs.

Avoid the legal fees and delays of conservatorship or guardianship

For the affordable upfront cost of signing a comprehensive financial power of attorney document prepared by your estate planning lawyer, you can save thousands of dollars by steering clear of legal action. This is because your family member or friend would have to file a court petition seeking conservatorship or guardianship. This requires that they hire an attorney or law firm, doctors, and possibly others to give evidence regarding your incapacity. Apart from the costs involved, there's also delays in having your transactions addressed as you await the court directive on who to act as your agent.

Discuss with your family members beforehand

Drafting a financial power of attorney requires you to think about whom you trust to manage your financial interests. This means you will take time to converse with those persons regarding your wishes and hopes. If your preferred agent doesn't fancy taking the burden of managing your financial interests, you will have time to think about others to take up the role.

Avoids questions as to your intent

You have probably read or heard issues related to prolonged litigation concerning the intent of an incapacitated person. A comprehensive financial power of attorney document can stop the need for your loved ones disagreeing over your desires if you become incapacitated. In other words, the legal document spells out your wishes once you become incapacitated.

Drafting and signing a financial power of attorney eases the burden on family members who would otherwise have to file a petition seeking the court's power to perform basic tasks, such as wiring a check or remitting your mortgage payments. Knowing all these things have been handled by your estate planning attorney beforehand gives you peace of mind.