Monthly Archives: January 2015

What to Know About Being an Agent Under a Power of Attorney

January 27, 2015

Have you recently been appointed as an agent under a power of attorney? You’re now able to act in place of the person executing the power of attorney, known as the principal.

Needless to say, this is a very big responsibility. It’s important to know what your duties are as an agent, as well as how and when you’ll be required to perform them. This introduction to acting as the agent under a power of attorney will give you a better understanding of how to carry out your duties.

Financial Affairs

The main responsibility of an agent is to carry out the wishes of the principal with respect to financial affairs. This means you will manage their finances as the principal would want them to be managed. This covers things like:

Paying bills

Cashing checks

Making deposits/withdrawals from bank accounts

Managing investments

Your role here is as a fiduciary, which means that you’re expected to act in the best interests of the principal at all times. If you act in a way that is inconsistent with the wishes of the principal, you may be held liable for these actions.

When will my role as an agent take effect?

In most cases, your role takes effect as soon as the principal signs the document. However, if this is a “springing” power of attorney, it takes effect when an event that is stipulated to in the document takes place, for example, in the event that they become incapacitated. The document usually stipulates that a physician must certify the principal as incapacitated in order for the power of attorney to take effect.

Can I be removed from my role?

Yes. The principal can revoke your status as an agent whenever they wish, provided he or she still has the mental capacity to do so. .

Record-Keeping

As the power of attorney, you should keep records of all of your actions. Not only will this help you answer any questions that may be brought up, it will also help prevent mistakes by keeping these actions independent of your own.

Compensation

Usually, the power of attorney is a family member and performs this role with no compensation. However, you can stipulate with regard to compensation in the document before it is signed.

Keep up with us on our blog for more information about estate planning, asset management, and all things elder law related!

Source http://www.elderlawanswers.com/8-questions-and-answers-about-being-an-agent-under-a-power-of-attorney-14903

Testimonial3

January 16, 2015

“My mom and I just wanted to thank you for everything you have done for our family. We would have been lost without you, and your guidance and understanding throughout the last several months meant a lot to us. Thank you also for the kind professional courtesy on the last billing statement – that was most kind. I’m sure I’ll be calling you down the road for help later with mom (but hoping that will be a while) and with our own future planning. Thank you again for everything.”

Testimonial2

January 16, 2015

“Thanks so very much for all of your work with this tremendous achievement. Our family is very blessed to have you in our world and Angelo would thank you for our family if he could. Your amazing efforts and perseverance on this case were outstanding. Thank you!”

Testimonial1

January 16, 2015

“We were very pleased with the firms professionalism and courteous way we were treated. We would recommend your firm to our friends and family.”

Estate Planning in Maryland from Frank Frank & Scherr

January 7, 2015

Do you need assistance with estate planning in Maryland? Planning your estate can be confusing, but it’s an absolutely essential task. A well-planned estate will ensure that your wishes are carried out as you want them to be after your death. Learn more in our blog about why you should plan your estate, some of the basics of estate planning, and how you can get help with estate planning in Maryland.

Reasons to Plan Your Estate

You can pass on property and assets to whoever you want to receive them. You can stipulate how they receive your assets, when they receive them, and in what amount.

Proper estate planning can help prevent your estate from being to taxes, court costs, and other fees after your death. This way, more of your estate goes to your loved ones.

You get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be accounted for, and that your loved ones won’t be encumbered by sorting out these matters after your death.

The Basics of Estate Planning

Estate planning is a complex and vast field, but there are a few basic tenets that everyone should know.

Will and Testament

Your will and testament is the document that stipulates how your assets will be distributed after your death.

Trusts

Trusts are set up in order to manage the assets you intend to leave to your beneficiaries. You can appoint a trustee to manage the trust and ensure that the trust meets the needs of the beneficiaries, which is especially useful if the beneficiaries are minors. You can stipulate when the beneficiaries gain full access to the trust.

Power of Attorney

The power of attorney allows you to grant one person the power to act on your behalf financially in the event you become incapacitated. This ensures that your bills will continue to be paid, investments managed, etc.

Guardianship

A court may appoint a guardian to act on your behalf for non-financial decision making in the event you are no longer able to make responsible decisions for yourself. Guardians can be people, but they can also be non-profit agencies or public or private corporations.

Help with Estate Planning in Maryland

Are you looking to plan your estate but are unsure how to begin? Contact Frank, Frank & Scherr. We’re here to help you with all your estate planning needs in Maryland. Let us use our extensive experience in the field of elder law to help you make important decisions regarding your assets and wishes. For more information, contact us today.

What to Know Before You Accept the Position of Trustee

January 6, 2015

Have you been asked to serve as the trustee of the trust of a loved one? Are you unsure how to proceed? Being asked to serve as a trustee certainly speaks to your character and judgment, as your loved one is putting their trust in you to manage the trust, which they may have spent many years of their life assembling. At the same time, if you’re not quite sure what you may be getting into, it’s important to do your homework first. Knowing what to expect as a trustee will help you make this important decision.

Read the Trust

First things first, read the trust. Take notes and have a conversation with the drafting
attorney regarding any questions or comments you have.

The Trust’s Goals

Many trusts are written so that the trustee has plenty of discretion to spend trust funds, but lack an overall goal that would give guidance as to how to spend these funds. There may be language to this effect, but it may be vague. On the one hand, this is to allow you, the trustee, to spend the trust’s funds as you see fit. However, it’s important to have a strong concept of the goals of the trust.

Ask the grantor to stipulate their goals and wishes for the trust to you in writing. This will give you a framework from which to approach the trust, and will help inform your actions.

Co-Trustees

The trust may appoint one or more co-trustees to help manage the trust. If so make sure you understand how the responsibilities of the trust will be divided among the trustees. Co-trustees can also be institutions such as a bank, so make sure you understand the responsibilities of any institutions as well. If you are the sole trustee and feel you may need assistance, ask if you’re allowed to hire attorneys, advisors, accountants, etc., to help you manage the trust.

The Duration of Your Obligation

How long are you obligated to manage the trust? Make sure you have a solid understanding of this fact, as well as the terms under which you would be allowed to resign (and what would happen in this event).

Liability

You should be careful to review and understand under what circumstances you could be held personally liable for your actions as trustee.

Compensation

Trustees are not usually compensated for their actions, though you can discuss compensation with the grantor if you will be executing the majority of actions for the trust and feel you should be compensated. Professionals that you hire to help manage the trust will usually charge an annual fee for trust maintenance.

Keep up with our blog to learn more about trusts, trustees, and all things elder law related!

Source http://www.elderlawanswers.com/6-things-to-ask-before-agreeing-to-be-a-trustee-14890