Problems with Durable Powers of Attorney



Durable Powers of Attorney are awesome in many ways. They allow your agent (your attorney-in-fact) to act as your fiduciary and make decisions on your behalf regarding certain situations (such as buying/selling real estate, investing/withdrawing money in/from your investment accounts, etc.) when certain conditions are met (often time incapacity on your part which may result from a coma, alzheimers, etc.). This is not an exhaustive definition, but just trying to get you a general understanding. Ex: Jim goes into a coma, his wife has passed away, so his successor agent Bob now has a right and responsibility to carry out Jim's financial affairs for Jim's benefit. But there can be problems with these Powers of Attorney: (1) some financial institutions won't accept them; (2) Some financial institutions require that it be on their own form; (3) regardless of the fiduciary duty of the agent, some agents have been known to act in their own self-interest, wiping out the net worth of the incapacitated person. It's often better to have a living trust whereby your successor trustee can pay your bills, manage your investments, etc. So make sure you have an attorney who can walk you through these landmines. Oftentimes, Do-it-yourself online programs often fall short in helping people understand the uses, abuses, limitations, and benefits of various instruments.

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Mike Massey JD, MBA, MPA just might be the 195th most interesting person in Texas. He has 4 college degrees and he's working on a 5th:  BBS Accounting; MPA Master's in Professional Accounting; JD Law Degree; MBA Master's in Business Administration; BBS in Biblical Studies (in progress).

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