In order to extend your agent’s authority to include the ability to make financial decisions, you must have a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters in the St. Louis metro area.
This will allow your agent to make all of your financial decisions for you, including signing checks, paying your bills, making investment decisions, entering into contracts, making gifts, creating trusts and transferring property.
Even though the person appointed is sometimes referred to as the ‘attorney in fact’, this person is usually a friend or family member and need not be an attorney. Nor do they have to be a resident of Missouri. However, the law does prohibit certain individuals from serving as an agent for a Durable Power of Attorney. The law states that the following persons may not serve as an agent:
No one under 18 years of age.
No one determined by a court to be incapacitated, disabled or a habitual drunkard.
No judge or court clerk, unless closely related.
No staff of a state licensed facility in which the principal resides, unless closely related.
No health care provider or anyone connected to the health care facility in which the principal is a patient, unless closely related.
Your Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions in St. Louis can be revoked at any time by a competent principal. This can be done verbally in the presence of at least one witness. However, it is suggested that you also provide written notification to all of your banking institution(s), all entities that pay you funds, the Internal Revenue Service, and any other companies or institutions that you do business with. The Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions is automatically terminated upon your death.
Because this document is a such a powerful tool, you should carefully consider who you assign as your agent and what powers you want to give them. You also should make sure that the person you are naming is comfortable with the responsibility that you are bestowing upon them.
Make sure your agent understands his or her responsibilities and limitations. Agents need to be aware that misuse of the Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney may be reported and investigated as a crime of financial exploitation.
Contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm in St. Louis today for a free consultation to discuss the options that are available to you.