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Financial Power of Attorney:
Who Needs One?

By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
(Page 3 of 3)

Can I Still Manage my Own Finances?

In most cases, the answer is yes. When a “springing” power of attorney is in place, someone other than the agent will make the decision to enforce the power of attorney. Until that point, you are still able to control your own financial decisions. For other situations, as long as you are comfortable making financial decisions, there is no reason that someone else has to do it for you. 
What if it Doesn’t Work Out?

A power of attorney can be revoked at any point in time. Usually they are revoked when either the agent or the principal (the person who needs financial affairs managed) decides that the arrangement isn’t succeeding as planned. While it is not necessary to contact an attorney to prepare a power of attorney, some experts suggest that consulting an attorney may be wise when revoking one. 

Compared to making the financial decisions, invoking a power of attorney can be a relatively simple process. Before developing one, make a list of financial obligations and decide how you would want these handled in the event that you are unable to take care of them yourself. Discuss your decisions with loved ones and develop a trust relationship with someone that would be designated as agent. If possible, find more than one agent to avoid delays and other legal complications in the event that your first choice is unable or unwilling to perform the necessary requirements. Decide if you need a durable or nondurable power of attorney. Finally, develop the power of attorney and have it signed. Keep the original in a safe place and make certain your agent(s) knows where to locate it when it is needed.

Discussing issues related to handling financial information is best done in advance when the stress of a chronic illness or debilitating condition will aggravate a situation. Calm decisions made in advance will allow others to make informed decisions when the power of attorney is in force.

 

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