Top Ten Facts About Powers of Attorney
- The person signing the power of attorney giving someone else the authority to act for them is called the “principal” (sometimes referred to as you) and the person who is given the power to act for you is called your “agent.”
- Powers of attorney are not legally effective after your death. Powers of attorney should not be used after the death of the principal.
- The agent only has the authority you specifically authorize in your power of attorney. The law was changed in 2010 so that general language in a power of attorney may not be enough to authorize certain transactions.
- Your power of attorney is effective immediately (not upon your incapacity), unless stated otherwise.
- If you have named more than one agent, your agents may act independently unless your power of attorney states otherwise.
- Banks and investment companies must honor your power of attorney, they cannot force you to sign their power of attorney forms. In 2010 Colorado law was changed to impose liability on third parties who refuse to honor your current power of attorney arbitrarily or without reasonable cause.
- You must expressly grant your agent the authority to create a trust in your power of attorney, if you anticipate the need for a trust in the future.
- An agent should not use your property to benefit themselves, unless you give them specific authority to do so. They may need this authority if you own property jointly with them.
- Your agent has the responsibility to report financial abuse and your agent is required to take any action reasonably appropriate to safeguard your best interest.
- If an agent fails to notify you of abuse by others or take action against the abuser, the agent may be liable for reasonably foreseeable damages that could have been avoided, which include the obligation to restore property plus reimburse you for attorney fees.
This article was written by Tamra K. Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. This information if for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate, and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships. She can be contacted at: Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, Colorado 80030, (303) 657-0360, or visit her website at: www.waltemathlawoffice.com.