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Personal Finance Tips - How to Set Up a Financial Power of Attorney To Help Handle Your Affairs


If you have a good deal of money or assets it is probably a good idea that when you are planning your estate that you also consider setting up a financial power of attorney. What this is, is a document that will give another person the legal power or right to handle all of your financial affairs. To do this you don't even have to go to court. You just need to be of sound mind when you set up this type of an arrangement.

You being the principal in this document will then choose someone called the agent who will handle your affairs should there come a time in which for whatever reason, you can't. They can also be asked to handle your affairs if you are going to be gone and won't be able to take care of your affairs while you are away.

When you sit down to figure this out you are going to need to decide upon just how much authority that you are going to allow the agent to have. You may decide to give them general powers to handle all of it or you may just give him power to just take care of certain kinds of transactions like your stocks and bonds. They can even be asked to take care of financial issues while you are away on an extended vacation if need be.

You also need to figure out just how long you want their authority to last. It can be durable or it can be nondurable. A nondurable agent will lose their authority the minute you should become incapacitated in any way. So if you want to have them to continue on should you not be able to take care of things if you were incapacitated then you would want to make sure that you made them a durable agent.

You also need to figure out when the power of attorney will take effect. Understand that it will go into effect immediately as soon as the document is signed unless you set down a date in the document when it will take effect. Some documents with durable agents will not kick in until you might be declared incompetent or incapacitated by a doctor. You will also need to make sure there is a stipulation in the document that dictates when the power of attorney is ended, for instance you might stipulate that once a doctor says you are going to be OK and will be recovering, then the power of the agent will end.

Once you have your document written up you will need to have it signed by all parties involved and most states will require that you have the document notarized in front of two witnesses. If you don't want to do all of this yourself, you can always pay an attorney to write up your document for you.

When you decide to write up this kind of a document, the person that you pick needs to be someone you really believe that you know and trust well enough to honestly take care of your affairs for you whenever you might not be able to. Also remember that anything is possible so you might want to also name a second agent in case something should happen to the first one. Also make sure that if you would like to pay this person for performing their agent duties to state this in your document, otherwise they don't get paid for doing this.

Once you have your document written up and signed you should give a copy of it to your agent, a copy for yourself and you should also make sure that any agencies or businesses you do business with have copies as well and that would be banks, brokers, IRS or SSI.

Note: You can revoke your power of attorney at any time during your arrangement with them as long as you are mentally stable and you make sure that you send them a letter in writing stating you are going to revoke the document.



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