Has a friend, parent, or sibling recently asked you to serve as their attorney in fact? Has someone named you as their attorney in fact in their Power of Attorney? If so, you likely have questions: What can I do? What should I avoid doing? How can I make sure that I protect myself from liability?
These may be just a few of the questions you begin to ask yourself after you have been named as an attorney in fact. Below is a brief list of dos and don’ts to follow when serving as an attorney in fact. While not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of the best practices to follow as an attorney in fact.
- Do read the Power of Attorney to understand the powers and restrictions you have as attorney in fact
- Do understand when your power as attorney in fact becomes effective
- Do understand that the Power of Attorney does NOT take away power of principal to act on his/her own
- Do keep records of all transactions you enter into on behalf of the principal
- Do keep receipts of purchases made and notes of the reason for any such purchase
- Do provide copies of Power of Attorney to financial institutions
- Do hire professionals (accountants, lawyers, etc.) you trust to help you navigate issues that may arise when serving as attorney in fact
- Do obtain copies of the Power of Attorney
- Don’t withdraw cash from the principal’s account
- Don’t use cash to pay for expenses on the principal’s behalf
- Don’t use the principal’s debit card or credit cards for personal expenses or without consulting the principal
- Don’t add your own name to the principal’s financial accounts
- Don’t add your own name to the principal’s property
- Don’t combine your own property and money with that of the principal
- Don’t pay yourself without consulting the principal
- Don’t provide money or property to yourself or relatives without consent of the principal
- Don’t change beneficiary designations on financial accounts
When in doubt, contact your attorney. If you have questions, concerns, or need to be represented as an attorney in fact, contact Jessica Merkel and the attorneys at Bunger & Robertson. From personal injury to estate planning and business advice, Bunger & Robertson is here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at 812-332-9295 or visit lawbr.com.