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5 things that everyone should know before acting under a power of attorney


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5 things that everyone should know before acting under a power of attorney

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5 things that everyone should know before acting under a power of attorney

  1. 1. 5 Things that Everyone Should Know Before Acting Under a Power of Attorney 1
  2. 2. 2 Scope of the Attorneyship  A grantor may provide an attorney with full control over personal care and  financial decision making.  In such a case, an attorney can do anything that  the grantor could have done while capable, except for executing a new will.   However, the role may also be limited in scope and/or duration. It should be known whether there are any restrictions to the authority being  granted by the Power of Attorney before an attorney begins acting.
  3. 3. 3 Duties of an Attorney An attorney owes a fiduciary duty to a grantor. The attorney is required to act with utmost good faith when assisting the person who has appointed him/her. All decisions must be made in consideration of the best interests of the incapable person. An attorney is expected to manage a grantor's affairs with the same care, diligence, and care that one would exercise in the administration of his/her own affairs. One of the most fundamental duties of an attorney is maintaining complete records (with supporting vouchers) with respect to all decisions and transactions made on behalf of the grantor. An attorney may be compelled to pass his/her accounts, a process whereby the Court audits records prepared and filed in a certain format. An application to pass accounts generally results in a decision by the Court, either approving or criticizing the administration of the grantor's affairs.
  4. 4. 4 Compensation An attorney for property is generally entitled to reasonable compensation. The Power of Attorney may specify how the compensation to which an attorney is entitled for assisting the grantor is to be calculated. In some circumstances, however, the Power of Attorney may state that an attorney is not entitled to any compensation. When a Power of Attorney is silent on the issue of compensation, the compensation to which an attorney for property is entitled is fixed by a Regulation to the Substitute Decisions Act. In order to receive compensation on a greater scale, court approval may be required. If an attorney is receiving compensation for the management of property, he/she will be held to a higher standard of care than an attorney who is not compensated.
  5. 5. 5 That the Power of Attorney is Effective  Before an attorney begins acting, he/she should take time to review the  Power of Attorney appointing him/her.  If the attorney is uncertain about the  meaning of any part of the document, a lawyer should be consulted.  If the  attorney does not have the original copy of the Power of Attorney, he/she  should take steps to determine where the original document is located and  ensure that it is safe and accessible. After a review of the Power of Attorney, it should be confirmed that the  conditions upon which the attorney is to become authorized to act have been  satisfied. Finally, in order for the Power of Attorney to be effective, it is important that  the grantor did not execute a later Power of Attorney document that revoked  or altered the attorney's appointment in a prior document.  Inquiries should  be made to determine whether other Powers of Attorney executed by the  grantor exist.
  6. 6. 6 The Option of Resignation   The role of an attorney is not one that should be taken lightly.  In some  situations, a person appointed as attorney may not want to take on the role.   If a person is unwilling to act as attorney, he/she should obtain legal  assistance in resigning from the appointment before he/she begins acting on  the grantor's behalf. After an attorney begins acting, it becomes more difficult to walk away from  the appointment and a Court Order may be required to remove an attorney  from continued obligations.
  7. 7. 7 Thank you for reading!