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A Matter of Trust – Giving Someone Power of Attorney over Your Financial Matters Is a Key Decision

March 5, 2007

As you may have already heard or read, a Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) is a very important and beneficial document to have available, not only as you age, but at other times as well. It is a very powerful tool in the hands of the right appointee.

The usual and best form for a DPA is a broad and unlimited grant of authority by you (the principal) to your appointee (the attorney-in-fact,) which authority is effective upon signing. The execution of a DPA fundamentally gives your attorney-in-fact the ability to be you as far as all of your assets and material possessions are concerned.

In the absence of a DPA, the only mechanism whereby somebody is authorized to act on your behalf is to go to the Probate Court and petition to have somebody appointed as either your Guardian or Conservator. In each of those instances, the appointee will have the power and authority to handle and manage all of your assets.

Whereas your attorney-in-fact is able to act without any supervision at all,
the important and significant difference with a Guardian or Conservator is that the Probate Court will supervise their performance by virtue of the requirement of filing regular accountings. An accounting is the report to the Court that lists assets received, their disposition, all income received and each expense paid. While this supervision may seem desirable, it does include a degree of expense, formality and time, which may not always be beneficial.

While the simplicity and directness, not to mention efficiency, of a DPA is more often than not appropriate, it does open up the opportunity for concerns relative to supervision. …

You may read more at the link below.

by: Bruce M. Fogel, Esquire

Healthcare News
February 2007

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