• Haynes Burnham posted an update 6 days, 11 hours ago

    Without an extensive power of attorney (POA), a lot of men and women are unable to deal with the financial affairs of their nearest and dearest, nor make healthcare decisions without court intervention (conservatorship and guardianship). Unfortunately, it has been our experience that many people, including financial consultants, accountants and even some attorneys do not understand exactly what one is and why it’s so important to get one. Clients often come into our workplace supposing, just because they’re married or are a joint owner of assets, they can sell or transfer assets. Actually, a present client is unable to sell his mother’s home cause she signed a durable power of attorney.

    A power of attorney is a legal document where one person (the principal) authorizes another (the agent) to act on their behalf. There are lasting powers of attorney which authorize your agent to make decisions for you regarding financial issues and health care powers of attorney which allow your agent to make decisions regarding your health needs.

    Yours can be wide in scope, giving your broker the ability to make all financial decisions for you (a General Durable POA) or you can limit your brokers authority by specifying the types of financial decisions you will permit them to make (a Limited Durable POA). You may also like to give your broker the instant authority to make decisions on your behalf (a Durable POA) or you can restrict your brokers authority to act only once you become incompetent (a Springing POA).

    What is a Guardianship and Conservatorship?

    Guardianship is a legal relationship where the court gives a person (the guardian) ability to make private decisions (medical, housing, etc.) for another (the defender). A proceeding is initiated by filing a petition in the probate court. A written statement by a physician may be essential to establish the ward’s incapacity. The court then determines whether a guardian is needed on account of the ward lacking the necessary mental ability to make personal decisions. Unless limited by the court, the guardian has the same rights as parents have over their minor children. The guardian is required to report annually to the court regarding the state of the ward.

    A conservator is a legal relationship whereby the probate court provides an individual (the conservator) that the capacity to make financial decisions for another. The court proceedings are much like those of a guardianship except that the court is deciding whether the person has the ability to manage their financial affairs.

    divorce attorney is also required to submit an yearly accounting documenting (with confirmation) all their earnings and expenses incurred each year. A surety bond (an insurance policy) is often required by the court to safeguard against the conservator engaging in any improper use of the individual’s assets.