Designating an attorney-in-fact through a durable power of attorney does not mean you are giving up all your rights to your agent. Your estate plan and desires for your inheritance are still protected. There are cases where a parent designates one agent out of several children because often times there is one sibling that is more involved in the parent’s affairs or maybe that sibling works in the family business. The parent’s estate plan might leave an inheritance to all the children in equal shares. If the agent begins changing the parent’s estate plan or beneficiary designation on bank accounts there is a high probability that the estate proceeding will end in a lengthy and costly litigation among siblings.
How to Choose an Attorney in Fact
Your attorney-in-fact, or agent, should be someone that you not only trust but someone who is organized. This means they are able to keep an accounting of your finances. Accusations of undue influence are not only expensive they can cause irreparable damage to a relationship between siblings. In some cases, it may even be beneficial to choose a third party as your agent. Or to have co-agents with several children. It is important, however, that you learn how to choose an attorney in fact. You can discuss different options with your estate planning attorney to ensure you protect your children…from themselves.