Powers of attorney, which can be financial or medical in nature, are roles that can come into play when someone has become incapacitated or when a certain life event takes place.
For those who are developing powers of attorney, as well as those who are designated with this power (i.e., the agent), understanding the following fundamental facts about this role can be critical to successfully carrying it out.
Powers of Attorney: What’s Important to Know
1 – Powers of attorney can be limited or expansive.
Knowing these facts about powers of attorney can help you carry out your role as an agent, our experienced Pueblo estate lawyers explain.
In fact, people who develop powers of attorney can make these powers as discrete and limited – or as broad and expansive – as they want. For example, it’s possible for someone to develop a financial power of attorney that only allows an agent to make business decisions for the principle (i.e., the person who developed the power of attorney). Alternately, a financial power of attorney can authorize the agent to make all financial decisions on behalf of the principal, from new investment decisions and expenditures to tax decisions.
This essentially underscores how powers of attorney can be customized to meet the needs and wishes of the principle.
2 – There are some fundamental responsibilities all agents generally have.
Although the scope and nature of the responsibilities an agent possessing a power of attorney has can vary (and should be specified in the power of attorney documents), there are some key duties all agents tend to have. Typically, these responsibilities include (but are not limited to) the duties any fiduciary must fulfill, such as the duty to:
- Serve the interests of the principle
- Act without bias when carrying out power of attorney duties
- Preserve the assets of the principle and act in “good faith” and prudence when it comes to managing or investing these assets
- Preserve the principle’s estate plan.
3 – Agents can be personally liable for the mistakes they make.
Given that agents are fiduciaries, when agents fail to live up to their fiduciary duties, they can be held personally liable for their mistakes via breach of fiduciary lawsuits. This can end up meaning that, if a principle or some other party successfully raises a breach of fiduciary claim against an agent, that agent can be responsible for paying certain damages back to the principle or his estate.
This can make it critical for agents to retain an experienced lawyer to help them appropriately fulfill their fiduciary duties. Lawyers can be paid directly by the principle or the estate, and they can provide invaluable guidance regarding the best steps to take at any given point while you serve as an agent or any type of fiduciary.
Contact the Trinidad and Pueblo Estate Lawyers at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
If you need help carrying out your fiduciary duties or devising/administering an estate plan, the Trinidad and Pueblo estate lawyers at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.
To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.