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7 THINGS EVERY IOWAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FINANCIAL POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Estate Planning, Trusts, and Business Succession Planning

(Five in a Series of Twenty-Eight)

1. What is a financial power of attorney?

 A financial power of attorney (“POA”) is a legal document that designates someone to handle your financial decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to do so.

2. What happens if I don’t have a financial POA?

If you don’t have a financial POA, and you were to become incapacitated, any financial decisions would need to be made by a court-appointed conservator. Under a court’s direction, the conservator would handle your financial matters. It’s a quite expensive and time consuming process, especially compared with the relative simplicity of executing a financial POA.

3. After I die, can my agent continue to operate under my financial POA?

A common misperception is that your agent will be able to use this power after your death. Instead, at your death, any of the agent’s powers will be automatically revoked. The representative appointed through the probate process will carry out your estate plan.

4. Who should I choose to serve as an agent?

The agent you choose will be managing your finances, so it is critically important to choose someone trustworthy; someone who will not abuse or exploit this power; someone who will listen to your wishes, goals, and objectives, as included in the document or otherwise communicated; and someone who will look out for your best interests.

You also have the option of designating a successor agent who can take over if the original agent is unable or unwilling to serve. This is highly recommended. 

5. Who should receive a copy of my financial POA?

The person named as agent and any person named as a successor agent should receive a copy. It may also be wise to share a copy with your financial institution(s), such as your bank or credit union. Perhaps also, you’ll want to share a copy of your financial POA with your financial advisor and/or accountant.

6. Can I revoke my financial POA?

Yes, you may revoke the financial POA at any time. You can also amend the financial POA (change it, revise it, etc.) at any time.

7. Are there are other estate planning documents I need?

Yes, definitely! There are six “must have” estate planning documents, which I discuss in this article — LINK.

Do you have a financial POA?

Do you have a financial POA? And do you have an overall estate plan in place? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you – you can email me at gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com.

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