Working with your attorney to create a Durable Financial Power of Attorney (POA) ensures that, in the event you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, your financial affairs continue to be handled properly. With this document, you assign an individual whom you trust to act as your financial agent. These decisions may include banking and investment matters, property management, real estate transactions, insurance policy transactions, operating your business, and any other financial transactions you delegate.
If you become incapacitated without a durable financial POA, the courts choose the individual to act as your agent instead of you. You may revoke a POA or amend the document to name a new agent at any time so long as you have mental capacity to do so. The POA is in only in effect while you are alive, meaning your POA cannot act for you after you die.
1. Buying and Selling Real Estate Property
The right financial agent will understand the importance of maintaining your real estate properties. If the market changes, as it always does, the agent managing your properties may choose to sell while prices are premium, protecting your investments and growing your assets, for the benefit of you and your beneficiaries. He or she will also be able to complete any deals or sign contracts that may have been underway at the time of your illness.
2. Filing Tax Returns
Unfortunately, illness does not negate one’s tax liability. While the court decides whom to appoint as your agent, quarterly and yearly taxes come and go. A Durable Financial Power of Attorney protects you from IRS penalties and late fees for failure to file your taxes.
3. Conducting Bank Transactions
Making deposits, writing checks, paying bills, accessing safety deposit boxes, and managing savings accounts: your financial agent handles all of these activities and more. Without an assigned agent, bills go unpaid, credit is destroyed, and your family may not have the wherewithal to manage these financial transactions while waiting for the court to appoint an agent on your behalf. NOTE: Many financial institutions are no longer accepting POA’s to allow someone to act for you and may require your family to seek appointment from a court.
4. Operating a Business
If you become incapacitated without a Financial Power of Attorney, and own your own business, allowing it to languish while the court chooses an agent is a fast road to insolvency. Your agent ensures employees keep receiving their paychecks and the wheels of commerce continue turning, even without you behind the wheel.
5. Managing Investments
As in real estate, the value of investments such as stock portfolios sees wide fluctuations. If your financial advisor is unable to contact you, though, he or she needs someone who is authorized to make financial decisions on your behalf to receive the okay to buy, buy, buy or sell, sell, sell. Again, the goal is to not only protect but also have the ability to grow your assets.
6. Completing Insurance Transactions
You can include the power to purchase, maintain, or collect insurance policies in your Durable Financial POA , ensuring you and your family suffer no lapse in insurance coverage. New policies may be signed, old policies canceled, and claims completed by your financial agent.
The Power of a Durable Financial POA
Hopefully, your health improves so that you are able to take back control of your financial decisions. If the worst happens, though, you at least have peace of mind knowing that your finances were competently managed during your illness, protecting the assets you spent a lifetime building and leaving your heirs well provided for.
Contact Cholewka Law today to schedule your private consultation with one of our Gilbert attorneys. We can help you choose the right individual to act as your financial agent, protect your assets, and give you that desired peace of mind.