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Financial power of attorney

Will the Financial Power of Attorney I Signed Be Enforceable?

When a principal signs a power of attorney, he or she expects that it will give the agent all the authority he or she needs his affairs. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A financial power of attorney is a document whereby the person signing the power, otherwise known as the principal, grants a designated person, otherwise known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, broad authority to mange the principal's financial affairs. In most circumstances, a power of attorney is effective either immediately or upon the demonstrated incapacity of the principal, in which case it is referred to as a "springing" power of attorney. It may also be referred to as "durable," in which case it may not be revoked by the principal during his or her incapacity. The authority granted in a power of attorney terminates upon the death of the principal. As long as a power of attorney is prepared and executed in accordance with the laws of the state in which it is signed, it is valid and enforceable in every other state.

Effect of divorce on pre-existing estate plans

Most today are aware that approximately 50% of all marriages end in a divorce, dissolution or annulment (referred to in this note collectively as "divorce". The marriages that don't end in divorce ultimately end with the death of one spouse. A large percentage of divorced persons, widows, and widowers subsequently remarry one or more times. This note addresses the legal effect divorces may have any pre-existing estate plans including wills, trusts, non-probate transfers [such as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, community property with rights of survivorship, payable on death ("POD") and transfer on death ("TOD") beneficiary designations]. A subsequent note will address the effect of marriage on a pre-existing estate plan.

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