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What are your duties as power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2021 | Estate Planning

Residents of Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana might want to learn more about the meaning of “power of attorney.” If a loved one has given you this title, what is now expected of you?

There are certain responsibilities that go with that appointment. The “principal” is the person you are caring for and on whose behalf you, the “agent,” will be working. In the person’s estate documents, there may be an explanation of the legal duties you now have. They may include the following.

Act on the person’s behalf

A person has asked you to act as an agent in their financial matters. You may need to:

• Pay the principal’s bills
• Access their accounts
• Pay their taxes
• Buy and sell investments or real estate

Make a list of their assets and liabilities

In some cases, the principal made understanding your duties easy for you by listing them when they knew there would be a need for power of attorney. You will be responsible for the following:

• Phone, cable, and internet bills
• Utility bills
• Brokerage accounts
• Bank accounts
• 401(k)s, IRAs and 403(b)s
• Mortgage bills
• Tax bills
• Insurance bills

If there are accounts that have online management, you will need to contact those account administrators. The financial institutions should know of your power of attorney.

Protect the assets of the principal

This means making sure their home is secure. You might check pipes for freezing, leaks, and other conditions. A neighbor might be of help in this because they know the weather conditions. If the principal is incapacitated for a long time, cancel the phone and newspaper accounts.

Pay necessary bills

If you have suspended a credit card, make sure that you are still paying the bills. The card may be the way the principal was paying them automatically.

Keep excellent records

Track all expenses made on behalf of the principal. It will show that you have upheld your duties, and it may be important to receiving payment for the time you spent acting as the power of attorney.