ARTICLES / General /
Financial Power of Attorney: Who Needs One?/
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
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
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.