Power Of Attorney Obligations To Family Members

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“A Power of Attorney indicates that a person has given someone else (usually a close friend or relative) the power to act on their behalf. The person who grants a power of attorney is known as the principal. Conversely, the person who holds a power of attorney is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.”

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Power Of Attorney Obligations To Family Members

While a power of attorney can be a valuable tool to ensure that your affairs run smoothly in the event of incapacity, it also comes with certain obligations to family members. This post will explore the Power Of Attorney Obligations to Family Members.

 

What Is a Power of Attorney?

The legal document lets the person (the principal) let someone else (an agent or an attorney) make decisions on your behalf. It is typical for business and property owners to use it to safeguard themselves from disasters or when they’re away.

This power could be for medical or financial reasons. Thus, the rights and responsibilities of POA are mostly based on the conditions. An irrevocable power of attorney goes into effect immediately. It is valid for the principal’s life, and a springing power is in effect when the principal becomes incapacitated.

Most POA documents allow an agent to act as the principal’s representative in all financial and property issues as long as the principal’s mental condition is stable. The agreement is automatically terminated if the principal cannot decide.

Many reasons could lead to ending a power of attorney. These include when the principal decides to revoke the contract, dies when the court invalidates it, or if the agent can’t fulfill the duties in the contract. In the case of married couples, the authorization could end. This would happen when the principal and agent get divorced.

 

Fiduciary Duty

What are the power of attorney duties and responsibilities? Fiduciary duty is a legal obligation that requires the power of attorney agents to act in the principal’s best interests. This means that the agent must put the principal’s interests above their own and manage the principal’s affairs with the highest level of care and competence.

In the context of the power of attorney’s obligation to family members, the agent’s fiduciary duty requires them to act honestly and with utmost good faith toward the principal’s family.

For example, if the principal has appointed an agent to manage their finances, the agent must make decisions that are in the principal’s best financial interests. The agent must also keep the principal’s family members informed about the principal’s financial affairs and provide regular updates on the principal’s health and well-being.

The agent’s fiduciary duty also requires avoiding conflicts of interest between the principal and their family members. For example, if the principal’s spouse or children have a financial interest in the principal’s estate, the agent must act impartially and ensure that the estate proceeds fairly and transparently.

The agent must manage the principal’s affairs with the highest level of care and competence. This means that the agent must exercise prudence, diligence, and sound judgment in all transactions related to the principal’s affairs.

 

Communication

Communication is one of the powers of attorney’s obligations to family members. The agent must keep the principal’s family members informed about the principal’s affairs. This includes regular updates on the principal’s health, finances, and any decisions affecting the principal or their estate.

Effective communication between the power of attorney agent and the family members of the principal is crucial for a successful relationship. The following are some key aspects of communication that are important for the power of attorney for family member agent to consider:

 

Frequency:

The power of attorney agent should communicate regularly with the principal’s family members to keep them informed about the principal’s affairs.

The frequency of communication will depend on the needs and wishes of the family members and the complexity of the principal’s affairs.

 

Method:

The power of attorney agent should choose a convenient and effective communication method for the family members. This may include phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings.

The agent should also be willing to adapt their communication method if the family members prefer a different method.

 

Transparency:

The power of attorney agents should be transparent in their communications with the family members. This includes providing accurate and complete information about the principal’s affairs and being honest about any challenges or issues.

 

Respect:

The power of attorney agent should communicate with the principal’s family members. They should listen to the family members’ concerns and respond promptly and appropriately.

 

Confidentiality:

The power of attorney agent should maintain confidentiality when communicating with the principal’s family. They should not disclose confidential information without the principal’s consent unless required by law.

 

Record-Keeping

Can power of attorney be a family member? Record-keeping is one of the key obligations of a power of attorney agent toward family members. The agent must keep accurate and complete records of all transactions related to the principal’s affairs, including financial transactions, medical decisions, and other legal matters.

 

Record-Keeping

 

Record-keeping ensures that the agent manages the principal’s affairs responsibly and transparently. It also helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes between the agent and the principal’s family. The records that a power of attorney agent must maintain typically include the following:

 

Financial Transactions:

The agent must keep detailed records of all financial transactions related to the principal’s affairs. This includes receipts, invoices, bank statements, and other relevant financial documents.

 

Medical Decisions:

If the agent advises the principal about medical treatment, medications, and other healthcare-related matters, they must keep detailed records of all medical treatments, medications, and other healthcare-related matters.

 

Legal Matters:

The agent must also keep records of matters related to the principal’s affairs, such as contracts, leases, and other legal documents.

 

Communication:

The agent must keep records of all communication with the principal and family members.

 

Miscellaneous:

The agent must keep records of any other matters related to the principal’s affairs that may be relevant.

The agent must maintain accurate and complete records of all transactions related to the principal’s affairs. These records must be kept in a safe and secure place and easily accessible to family members or other interested parties upon request.

 

Transparency

Transparency is an important obligation that a power of attorney agent has to the family members of the principal. This means the agent must be open and honest about their dealings with the principal’s affairs and provide family members with relevant information and documents upon request.

One key aspect of transparency is providing family members with copies of the power of attorney document. This document outlines the scope of the agent’s authority, duties, and obligations to the principal and their family members.

Moreover, it specifies any limitations or restrictions on the agent’s powers, such as how much money the agent can spend on behalf of the principal or the types of decisions the agent can make.

 

Copies of the power of attorney document

In addition to providing copies of the power of attorney document, the agent must be transparent about any other legal or financial documents relevant to the principal’s affairs.

For example, the agent may need to provide copies of bank statements, tax returns, or medical records to inform family members carefully about the principal’s affairs. The agent must also be willing to answer family members’ questions about the principal’s affairs and provide regular updates on significant developments.

Another aspect of transparency is disclosing any fees or compensation the agent receives for their services. The power of attorney document may specify the amount of compensation the agent is entitled to.

It may leave this up to negotiation between the agent and the principal or their family members. In either case, the agent must be transparent about the compensation they receive and any other financial arrangements they have made in connection with their role as agent.

Overall, transparency is an important obligation that a power of attorney agent has to the principal’s family members. By being open and honest about their dealings with the principal’s affairs, the agent can help build trust and confidence among family members and protect their interests.

 

Duty of Care

A power of attorney duties owes the principal’s family the duty of care. This duty requires the agent to be loyal and honest toward the principal’s family members and manage the principal’s affairs with the highest care and competence.

The duty of care responsibilities of power of attorney requires the agent to exercise high skill and care in performing their duties. This includes keeping accurate records of all transactions related to the principal’s affairs, providing regular updates to family members about the principal’s health and finances, and responding promptly to any questions or concerns raised by family members.

The power of attorney responsibilities to siblings must also protect the principal’s assets and ensure that the principal’s affairs proceed consistently with the family’s wishes and expectations. This means that the agent must act in the best interests of the principal’s family members and not engage in any transactions that would be detrimental to their interests.

If the power of attorney agents breaches their obligations, they can be liable for damages. This can include compensating family members for losses due to the agent’s actions or failure to act.

Overall, the duty of care is an important obligation that a power of attorney agent owes to the principal’s family members. It is essential that the agent understands and fulfills this obligation to ensure that the principal’s affairs proceed in a manner that is fair, transparent, and consistent with the family’s wishes and expectations.

 

How Can We Handle a Person Abusing Power of Attorney?

Utilizing the power of attorney fraudulently is a serious matter, and legal action must be taken. If you believe an agent or your child is being misused, seek a power of attorney lawyer. They will help you find the best way forward.

Sometimes, siblings are reluctant to speak up when their sister, brother, or relative abuses their authority to avoid family disputes. Ultimately, silence could compromise the individual’s financial, emotional, and physical well-being.

 

Contacting the attorney

Contacting the attorney-in-fact is the first step to voice your concerns about how they handle them. Request clarification on matters of concern and request documents or other evidence.

It may be intimidating for someone with a hostile attorney. But it could clear up confusion and help you avoid the cost and time of going to court.

 

Obtain Evidence or Clues

It’s best to base your case on a solid argument, not bogus assertions that could destroy your relationships with the parties. The main goal is to gather evidence that we can check. This evidence includes records and clues. It must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sometimes, you must talk to the principal or visit their house to look for warning signs. For example, lacking basic amenities or unpaid bills could indicate a lack of care. However, forging documents could indicate criminal activities.

 

Contest The Power of Attorney

The principal can remove a power of attorney if they are competent. If they are not, the only option to challenge a family power of attorney is to file a court complaint.

First, speak with a probate attorney and gather evidence. This will prove the agent needs to be qualified. Probate attorneys can help draft and file the petition and present arguments in court.

 

Keep the Agents in Check

The power of attorney is essential to help families and businesses operate smoothly, regardless of the principal’s health or input. However, the beneficiaries, heirs, and others interested should watch. They must stop the agents from misusing their authority.

If you spot evidence of abuse, it’s important to act fast and bring together a team of probate lawyers and researchers to stop the abuse from the beginning.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, a power of attorney can be a powerful tool to ensure that your affairs run smoothly in the event of incapacity. However, it also comes with certain obligations to family members.

Suppose you are considering granting a power of attorney. In that case, seeking legal counsel to help you understand these obligations and protect your interests is important.

An attorney can also help you choose a trustworthy and competent agent who will act in your best interests and fulfill their obligations to your family members.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  info@attorneysre.com Bio...

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