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Your parent's powers of attorney

It isn't unusual for adult children to become confused or overwhelmed when they are faced with the possibility of taking over one or both parent's finances. Some Massachusetts residents may not be prepared for this possibility. Assigning a trusted individual with powers of attorney can help to solve many problems before they start.

People can give their power of attorney agents several specific powers or they can give them more general guidelines. Some are responsible for paying bills, selling assets, or managing online accounts. Even if a trust has been set up, a trustee will still need a power of attorney to help manage assets that fall outside the trust. Individuals who do not have a designated power of attorney may have one appointed by the court if it is determined that they need one.

It is possible to set up a financial power of attorney through a bank, but some banks may require that their own forms be used so that they may be able to avoid possible fraud cases. More and more people are falling victim to these types of fraud schemes, some perpetrated by family members. The perpetrator can show up with a durable power of attorney and clean out the victims' accounts before anything can be done to stop them.

Massachusetts residents who wish to know more about powers of attorney could benefit from speaking with a local attorney. Lawyers may be able to help their clients to understand exactly what the responsibilities of a power of attorney agent include. They may also be able to help clients customize the responsibilities of their designated power of attorney.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Retirement: What you need to handle mom and dad's finances", Eileen Ambrose, Sandra Block, Dec. 6, 2017

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