What that you must know earlier than consenting to an influence of lawyer
A Power of Attorney (POA) is essential for any estate plan. The POA appoints an agent (or more than one agent) to act on behalf of the principal when he or she cannot. The agent can pay bills, manage assets, and perform other important tasks for the client.
At some point, many of us were asked by a friend or relative if we would act as an agent under their POA. Most people ask an adult child or trusted friend to consent to act as their agent if necessary.
While being asked to act as an agent under a POA is a compliment, it also comes with some responsibilities that not many people are aware of. You should be aware of the primary responsibilities that may come with the agency.
The Uniform Power of Attorney Act has been passed in more than 25 states, and it is more likely to be passed in the years to come. The law has record keeping requirements for an agent, and many states that have not passed the law have similar or stricter record keeping requirements.
The agent authorized under a POA must keep records of all transactions made under the POA. If a family member or other interested party wants to see the records or wants a statement of how money was handled, the agent must meet the requirements. In other words, the agent under a POA is accountable to both the potential heirs and the principal. You can request a review of the documents at any time.
If the agent does not provide satisfactory records in a timely manner, family members and other interested parties may request a court to order the records to be submitted. Some states have an agency that is empowered to oversee agents acting under POAs so that the agencies can investigate and take other action.
Some state laws are more burdensome. California has not yet passed the 2006 uniform law, but the POA law states that it is a violation of the agent’s fiduciary duty not to keep adequate records of transactions. Once it is alleged that the records are inadequate, it is the agent’s burden to refute them in court.
In all states, when a court or agency finds the agent improper, it is usually not another family member or friend who has appointed the takeover agent. Instead, the state is seen as the principal’s agent and a professional guardian or trustee is appointed by the court or state agency to act as the agent. The specialist then makes the decisions on behalf of the client and charges fees for the activity as a representative. Once a professional trustee has been appointed, it is difficult for family members or friends to regain control of the client’s affairs.
Make sure you understand the responsibilities that may be associated with the role before agreeing to be someone’s agent. And when preparing your own POA, make sure that the people you consider your agent to be able to meet all of the responsibilities so that your affairs are not handled by a professional trustee.