What you need to know about power of attorney documents – Los Angeles Times

December 15, 2021 by No Comments

Dear Liz: My husband has Parkinson’s disease and is showing early signs of dementia. I’ve been advised to get a financial power of attorney. If all of our accounts are joint, is this necessary? What will that do for me?

Answer: A power of attorney gives you the authority to make decisions on your husband’s behalf. You wouldn’t need one to pay the bills from your joint accounts, but this document could be invaluable if you wanted to take action on jointly held property, such as selling a car or house or refinancing a mortgage. Otherwise, you might have to go to court to get a guardianship, which can be expensive.

Please don’t wait. For the document to be valid, your husband needs to be able to understand what a power of attorney is and what it does. You’ll also need a power of attorney for healthcare, which is sometimes called a healthcare proxy or advanced directive, to make decisions regarding his medical care.

There are do-it-yourself options, but given your husband’s condition you may want to hire an experienced estate planning attorney who can offer personal guidance and help make sure the documents won’t be challenged.

While you’re creating these documents for your husband, please create a set for yourself. Estate planning attorneys say every adult should have powers of attorney for finances and for healthcare. It’s a good idea to name backup people in case your first choices can’t serve.

Look for a fee-only planner

Dear Liz: I am starting to receive marketing mailings from financial advisors inviting me to a free lunch or dinner to listen to annuity investment presentations. I went to one recently by a fee-based financial planner who told me he also acts as a broker when investing in annuities. He’s been pressuring me to invest all of my retirement funds into a fixed indexed annuity. Isn’t this a conflict of interest? I assume he gets paid by both me and a commission from the insurance company if he signs me up for this investment. Why do financial planners force annuities on seniors? Is it because they know they will also get commissions? Is it better to sign up with a fee-only financial planner? I’ve read that the fee-only planner will act only in my interest, not pushing investments that bring in a commission.

Answer: Yes, yes and yes.

Remember your folks telling you, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Remember that the next …….

Source: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-12-15/what-is-power-of-attorney-estate-planning


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