The High-Wire Act of Durable General Powers of Attorney

Death is easy. Disability is the hard part.

This post by David Goldman of the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog sums the problem of DGPOAs up very well:

Powers of Attorney are often a tough balancing act: You want them to be simple for trusted family members or friends to implement, without too many hoops each time a transaction is made. But you also want to avoid giving agents a license to steal.

These POAs are regular pieces of our estate plans and are great for curing many of the potential problems presented by one’s disability, but giving such power over your finances to another individual poses inherent risks. Appointing co-agents is a good idea but it makes regular transactions rather cumbersome as both signatures are required. Forcing your agent to report annually or more fruquently to a trusted advisor (attorney, financial advisor ect.) is also a good idea but a lot can be lossed in a year that may never be recovered.

There are risks but, in my opinion, these document’s benefits far outweigh these risks. The best way to ensure the safe management of your property in the event of your disability is to talk openly with your estate planning attorney. Death is easy… Its not being able to care for what you’ve got while you’re still around is where the deliberate and contemplitive skill of a professional is required.

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