What is a power of attorney? And do I need one? A Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs gives your designated agent(s) the authority to make legally binding financial decisions and transactions on your behalf, usually when you cannot manage your own affairs due to incapacity. If you own any financial assets in your own name alone, without a joint tenant or an authorized signer, then yes, you need to designate a power of attorney. Without one, no one is legally authorized to access those accounts to make management or withdrawal decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.
Another reason to designate a Power of Attorney? IRAs and 401k’s. These are considered individually owned assets and you cannot access your spouse’s IRA or 401k (to make management or withdrawal decisions) without being authorized to do so under a Power of Attorney. Similarly, your spouse cannot access your IRA or 401k in the event you were to become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney in effect.
There are risks to designating a Power of Attorney, so you need to pick carefully. An experienced Estate Law attorney can help you make the right decision and walk you through the process. The knowledgeable attorneys at Foresight Legal Group will make sure that the person you designate to have access to your financial accounts and records is the best person for the job.
Contact the Foresight Legal Group for more information on Power of Attorneys and to see if designating one is right for you.