Financial Power of Attorney

Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Last Modified: February 12, 2018

A financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to designate another person to handle financial matters in the event you are unable to do so. Financial POA is completed by the “principal” who designates an “agent” to act on their behalf. This agent can access bank accounts, write checks, pay bills, sign real estate papers and execute other financial transactions. Thus, it is extremely important to choose an agent for your financial POA that you TRUST COMPLETELY. They will be handling all of your financial matters AND have access to all of your funds. A financial POA does not have powers to make medical decisions on your behalf unless you also appoint them to be your health care POA/proxy (will link to this article)

Completing a financial POA is extremely important if you have a disabling medical condition or terminal illness. Just because you are sick, doesn’t mean bills aren’t due. If you are in the hospital, or going through treatment, you may need someone to take over day to day management of your finances. Think carefully BEFORE you appoint someone to be your “agent.” The “principal” may revoke the document at any time.

A financial POA is good for as long as the “principal” is alive if the type of document completed is a DURABLE financial POA. If it is not a durable POA, the power given to the agent ends when the principle becomes incapacitated. Incapacitation can be either physical (the person is unconscious) or mental (the person does not have mental capacity to make decisions). The powers given by a financial POA always end when the “principal” dies. Any plans you would like to make for your finances for after your death should be outlined in a Last Will and Testament. (link to will article)

Because of the powers you are giving to another individual to manage your finances, it is important to consult with a lawyer or acquire legal assistance to complete a financial power of attorney.

 Completing a financial power of attorney is important for people with cancer. You cannot predict when you may not be able to manage your bills and finances. Having this document in place can give you peace of mind that your financial matters will be taken care of in the event that you are not able to take care of them.

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